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Summer road safety and driver wellbeing

By James Billings
Practice Leader, Motor Risk Solutions

Summer brings unique challenges for drivers.

With more vehicles on the road, children playing outside, walkers, cyclists, motorbikes and tractors, Summer brings unique challenges for drivers.

For businesses with vehicles and drivers on the road, there are specific issues to be aware of and work schedules should be planned accordingly. As well as vehicle maintenance and holiday traffic jams, there should also be a focus on employee wellbeing, for example coping with allergies and preventing tiredness behind the wheel. The following information should prove useful for managers to communicate to drivers and maintenance teams.

Vehicle maintenance

Along with more traffic on the roads, July and August tend to be the busiest months for vehicle breakdowns on motorways and major roads.

  • Check coolant levels and ensure that air conditioning is working effectively.
  • Windscreen smears caused by insects can impair visibility, so keep windscreens clean, washer bottles topped up, and extra screen wash in the vehicle.
  • Checking tyres for damage and tread depth is important as hot weather increases the risk of puncture and sudden summer showers can leave road surfaces flooded or slippery.

Allergies and hay fever

Hay fever causes itchy and watery eyes, blocked and running noses, and sneezing, which can cause a real distraction to drivers.

  • Advise affected drivers to use non-drowsy antihistamines such as Claritin and Cetirizine, and to keep a good supply of tissues in the vehicle.
  • Dehydration can make symptoms worse so have some bottled water available in the vehicle.
  • Have vehicle cabs vacuumed regularly to remove pollen.
  • Provide vehicle purifiers and ionizers where possible to reduce pollen particles in the vehicle.
  • Provide weather warnings when pollen counts are expected to be high.


Drivers are more likely to feel fatigued in the warmer summer months. To help combat tiredness, drivers should take regular breaks, ideally every two hours, even if it’s a shorter journey.

  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before driving.
  • Stop for a coffee and some fresh air if feeling drowsy.
  • Chewing mint-flavoured gum can help some people to stop yawning.

Glare from the sun

Wearing the correct sunglasses can help reduce glare, keep drivers seeing clearly and reduce road incidents.

  • It is recommended that drivers have their eyes tested by an optician every two years.
  • If a driver needs prescription lenses their sunglasses should also have the same prescription lenses.
  • It’s important to have the correct type of sunglasses. Some lenses in sunglasses are not suitable for use by drivers. Class 4 lenses let through little light and are not suitable for driving use. Class 1, 2 and 3 lenses let through adequate light for use in the day but not at night and Class 0 lenses have no limitations but have over 80% light transmission. Also, design features like deep arms should also be avoided as they can obstruct peripheral vision.

Night driving

Around 40% of road collisions occur in the hours of darkness, according to figures from the Department for Transport. Decreased visibility is the main danger as it makes it harder to see pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The danger of falling asleep at the wheel is another significant factor at night and accounts for 20% of serious accidents on monotonous roads, such as motorways. At night, hazards can often appear from out of nowhere and it can take time for your eyes to adjust, particularly after being on a well-lit stretch of road.

  • Turn your headlights on before sunset and after sunrise – it’ll be easier for other drivers to see you in dim light.
  • Drive with full beam on rural roads where possible but remember to dip your lights for oncoming traffic.
  • Keep your windscreen and windows clean to improve visibility and reduce glare.
  • Read the road ahead and watch out for pedestrians and vulnerable road users and clues to oncoming vehicles.
  • Be aware that it’s riskier driving at night, so take your time, reduce your speed and take regular breaks.

Electric vehicles - A FREE offer for QBE customers

With an increasing number of businesses now using plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles, it’s important to ensure they are driven safely and to be aware that hot weather can have a significant impact on reducing the driving range of electric vehicles - estimates range around 12-15%.

The use of air-conditioning to keep drivers cool can also decrease a vehicle’s range by as much as 30%, so this is another important factor to educate drivers about. Pre-cooling while the vehicle is charging can help to reduce the need to use AC when driving off, combined with using it sparingly during the journey.  

To support our customers as they transition to net zero and adopt more EVs, we’ve paired up with one of our trusted risk management partners, E-Training World, to offer a tailored training package. QBE customers can order up to 50 free codes for an online training course which includes:

  • Car/small van driver profiling
  • Introduction to electric vehicles
  • Electric vehicle awareness
  • Speed awareness (Electric Vehicles)

Click here for information and to claim your free training.

This offer ends 31st August 2022.

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and insurance.

With almost a century of insuring commercial vehicles, 50 years’ experience in insuring bus and coach fleets, and 30 years as the UK leader in minibus insurance, QBE is fully committed to the motor sector and proactively helping customers to manage risk and drive down claims. This approach has made QBE a name to trust in commercial motor insurance.

QBE customers can access self-assessment questionnaires and a library of risk management material, along with a panel of approved partners who offer training, e-learning and other services at specially reduced rates. You can find more information in our Motor risk management service offerings brochure, and find out more about how QBE helps businesses to manage risk here.

Need to claim? Report it early

Finally, a reminder that if you have an incident and need to make an insurance claim, it’s important that you report it as soon as possible, ideally the same day. Reporting a claim early can save time and help you to receive any claim payments faster, as well as allowing us to help mitigate the cost of third-party claims.