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Summer road safety

By James Billings
Practice Leader, Motor Risk Solutions

As we approach the summer months, we can expect to see more cars, caravans, motorbikes, bikes, and other vehicles on the roads, leading to longer journey times, traffic jams and more incidents.

Along with more traffic on the roads, July and August tend to be the busiest months for vehicle breakdowns on motorways and major roads. In July-August last year one breakdown was reported every two minutes.

Increased homeworking means that many people may have spent less time behind the wheel than normal, which can lead to skills fade. Because driving is one of the most dangerous things many people do each day, it’s vital that businesses have a pre-emptive strategy in place for reducing the risk of a collision.

There are a number of summer driving considerations for fleet and risk managers to be aware of, including:

Vehicle maintenance in summer is as important as any other time of year.

  • 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.
  • Hot weather increases the risk of puncture, so check tyres for damage, tread depth and correct tyre pressures.

Allergies and Hay fever cause itchy and watery eyes, blocked and running noses, and sneezing, which can be a real distraction to drivers. You can advise affected drivers to use non-drowsy antihistamines such as Loratadine and Cetirizine and keep a good supply of tissues in the vehicle.

  • Dehydration can make symptoms worse so keep a bottle of water in the vehicle.
  • Monitor weather warnings for when pollen counts are expected to be high.
  • Regularly vacuum the vehicle to remove pollen and provide vehicle purifiers and ionisers to reduce pollen particles.

Drivers may feel warm weather fatigue. Tachographs dictate that commercial vehicle drivers take regular breaks. For those who drive vehicles without a tachograph, it’s advisable to take a 20-minute break (which could include a short nap) every two hours, even within a three-hour journey.

  • Regular short breaks are better than one long stop.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal before driving.
  • Stop for a coffee and some fresh air if feeling drowsy.

Glare from the sun can cause incidents, so wearing the correct sunglasses can improve vision and help reduce glare.

  • It’s recommended that drivers have their eyes tested every two years.
  • If a driver needs prescription lenses their sunglasses should also have the same prescription lenses.
  • Not all sunglasses are suitable for driving. Some sunglasses can be too dark (Class 4 lenses let through little light), and some frame features like deep arms can obstruct peripheral vision.

You may find our Summer driving - guidance for managers factsheet useful.

Risk management services for QBE customers

QBE helps businesses build resilience through risk management and 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.


Your contact

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James Billings

James Billings

Practice Leader