Summer is the time for easy road trips and family vacations – but summer is also historically a time when drivers don’t always use their best judgment on the road.
After coping with winter driving conditions, it’s easy to understand why a driver might relax a bit in the summer months – but you don’t want to relax too far. These are three things that can end up leading to a crash that could put an end to your summer fun.
Not keeping your shoes on
It’s not illegal to drive without your shoes on, but it’s definitely not advisable, either.
Driving without proper footwear can reduce your ability to control the pedals effectively. Shoes provide grip and stability, and that helps keep your foot firmly in position while you’re operating the accelerator, brake and clutch (if applicable). Bare feet may slip off the pedals, leading to delayed braking, accelerating unintentionally or difficulty in applying the necessary pressure for a sudden stop. This lack of control can increase the risk of accidents, especially in emergency situations where split-second reactions are needed.
Wearing the wrong footwear
Flip-flops are, quite often, the preferred footwear for lazy days at the lake or beach, but they’re not great for driving. The lack of ankle support and the loose-fitting nature of flip-flops can cause your foot to move around inside the shoe while driving, leading to a loss of pedal control. Additionally, the flexible sole of flip-flops can get caught under the pedals, causing delays in your response time or even pedal entrapment (where the flip-flop becomes lodged underneath or around the pedals while you’re in motion).
Keeping your shades on all the time
While sunglasses are essential for reducing glare and protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays, you need to be judicious about their use. Dark-tinted lenses, especially those not specifically designed for driving, can reduce the amount of light reaching the eyes, making it more difficult to see in low-light conditions or at night. They can also alter your color perception, making it challenging to distinguish between traffic signals or spot potential hazards. And, even the best sunglasses can interfere with your peripheral vision and create blindspots with their frames.
Ultimately, you can mitigate the risks to yourself and others by keeping a pair of “driving shoes” in your car that you can swap out if you are barefoot or wearing flip-flops, and lenses that adjust with the light can help you avoid problems with your sunglasses. If you do end up in a wreck due to another driver’s mistakes, find out what it takes to get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries and losses by seeking legal guidance proactively.