Only in Philadelphia could a major road re-opening be celebrated by all of the pro teams’ mascots riding on a firetruck, but I bet ALL of us were cheering for the fantastic work that our building trades’ union members did 24/7 on reopening Interstate 95. What could have been a months-long nightmare for motorists, businesses and neighborhoods, was a two week headache.

However, when I saw the temporary three lane section of I-95—three very narrow lanes—I started thinking of road safety. Driving I-95 is scary enough with normal width lanes! But the open road calls a lot more drivers in the summer and that likely means more accidents.

This summer issue of The Flame addresses tips to keep you and your passengers safe when you’re out and about in your car or truck. Have a great summer! The Flame will return in September!

— Betty Long, RN, MHA, President/CEO, Guardian Nurses Health Advocates


7 Safety Tips for Summer Driving

Most people know that snow, rain and ice are common cold-weather threats to driver safety, but summer brings with it its own set of dangers. For drivers, the added traffic of summer vacationers is just part of the increased risk — construction, sun glare and unpredictable weather patterns all add to the danger.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, summer and fall are the most dangerous times of the year for drivers, with July and August being the deadliest. More drivers are out on the road during that time, which increases the likelihood of collisions.

So before you pile your kids into the SUV and head out on that six hour drive, consider these 7 tips to stay safer in your car.

No. 1: Double Down on Equipment Maintenance

Extreme heat takes a toll on vehicles. It can lead to tire blowouts and can affect your vehicle’s braking ability. It causes your engine to overheat more easily and places increased stress on just about every mechanical function your vehicle performs.

Paying extra attention to tire pressure and tread, checking the brakes frequently and making sure that your vehicle’s cooling system has all the proper fluids can help keep your vehicle from being sidelined during the summer months.

No. 2: Watch Out for Distracted Drivers

Whether it’s families on vacation or students heading toward the beach, summer roads are filled with drivers who are more distracted than usual. Distracted driving is a growing threat. While drivers texting on their phones, or applying their makeup or eating their lunch are already a threat on the roads,summer can bring more distractions than usual, so watch out for drivers who aren’t watching out for you. If you see a distracted driver, try to avoid being near them on the road.

No. 3: Pay Attention to Weather Forecasts

Depending on what part of the country you’re in, your summer weather patterns could include thunderstorms, downpours that result in flash flooding, tornadoes and more. These often can happen with little to no warning, so make sure you know the forecast for the area you’re driving each day, and check in periodically just to make sure nothing has changed.

No. 4: Keep an Eye on the Calendar, Too

Some days are more dangerous than others; weekends and certain holidays are associated with an increase in drinking and driving. On the weekends, the highest number of fatal crashes happen between 3 and 7 p.m., so be aware of increased risk when you’re behind the wheel — and take extra safety precautions as needed.

No. 5: Take Care of Those Eyes

Driving can be hard on the eyes, period. But during summer months, when the sun is out in full force, there’s also an increased amount of sun glare coming off the road and other vehicles. This can be particularly dangerous during the early morning and late evening, so consider investing in a good pair of polarized sunglasses. They’ll help protect your eyes from fatigue and damage and cut down on glare, making it easier to see clearly.

No. 6: Increase Following Distance

Whether you’re driving a Toyota Prius, GMC Yukon, or pulling a camper, increasing your following distance can help offset the dangers brought by heavier traffic, construction zones and vacationing drivers who are traveling in unfamiliar areas.

No. 7: Respect the Effects of Heat

Finally, it’s easy to dismiss just how much the sun can affect us, but it’s important to pay attention to how it affects both drivers and vehicles. Heat exhaustion can make drivers drowsy, and an overheated vehicle can leave them stranded. Don’t push yourself or your vehicle past the limit — that only makes it unsafe for everyone on the road. You can combat fatigue by taking frequent breaks, and paying attention to your vehicle’s warning signs can prevent breakdowns and malfunctions.


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