Summer heralds the onset of clear blue cloudless skies, holidays, road trips, festivals, barbecues, and a general feeling of well-being for most. Driving during the summer months is, however, surprisingly, riskier. June, July, and August statistically, attract the heaviest traffic on UK roads, with July seeing the largest spike in speeding offences being committed on our motorways and the number of prosecutions being recorded for driving whilst intoxicated.
Motorists are generally far more likely to go out more often and drive faster in summer. Speeding incidents recorded in the summer months rise by as much as 21% and, although the weather conditions are generally better than in other seasons, data shows that drivers are far more likely to be involved in accidents with pedestrians, cyclists, and other motorists during the summer months.
More than 10% of the year’s speeding convictions are reported in June, with incidents of hard braking, indicating faster speeds and lack of attention, being most prevalent. It seems that drivers’ behaviours are more relaxed during summer and that, coupled with an average of 20% more miles driven by motorists during the summer, this has a detrimental impact upon the level of road traffic prosecutions. The knock-on effect of that can be expensive too, as the average increase in insurance premiums amounts to £200 per speeding conviction for a 50-year-old driver in a non-specific 1.2-litre vehicle.
As we all head into the countryside or to the beach, we are often driving in less familiar surroundings. Many rural roads do not have safety barriers and the speed limits are often higher than what is safe for the road conditions. These factors, combined with the presence of farm vehicles, wildlife, and pedestrians make driving on rural roads riskier. One particular hazard that is often overlooked is wildlife, which poses an even greater danger at night. Animals, like deer, cause serious accidents if they run out in front of a vehicle, seemingly unaware of the risk. Deer strikes have increased fourfold since 1980. In fact, there is said to be a deer strike once every seven minutes on roads in the UK.
Summer sees the highest numbers of drink driving prosecutions throughout England and Wales and young drivers fall into the category of those most likely to drink and drive and for those incidents to result in collisions. Rural roads also attract greater speeds, and are more difficult to navigate, particularly when intoxicated. There is hard data to suggest that young male drivers are most likely to speed, resulting in collisions, and the 25-to-29-year age bracket have the highest rate of drink drive accidents per driving licence held (particularly during the summer months). That said, there is a suggestion that in fact drink driving incidents may be higher amongst older age groups, specifically amongst the middle aged. It is purely the fact that older and more experienced drink drivers are less likely to be involved in collisions that has resulted in the lack of statistical data available for mid-life motorists drink driving. But it does seem that all age ranges are travelling more and some are willing to take the added risk of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol during the summer months.
Whilst all of these factors do make driving in summer, particularly on country roads, more hazardous, compared to some other countries with similar levels of economic development and road infrastructure, such as France and Germany, our road safety performance remains generally favourable. Despite that, there does, however, seem to be a clear trajectory towards making the roads even safer for all road users, and potentially placing restrictions, for example limiting the number of passengers new drivers can carry, on those who are most likely, statistically, to cause risk or harm to others.
Motoring Defence Solicitors are road traffic lawyers specialising in drink and drug driving offences. Based out of their central London offices, they provide free advice on a range of offences to motorists nationwide. You can contact Neil Sargeant for free on 0800 433 2880 or visit the website at