Long daylight hours and better driving conditions may lulldrivers into a false sense of safety during summer months­­­­, according to anew survey conducted by Michelin for National Tire Safety Week (May 28June 3).

Two in three (67 percent) drivers report feeling safer drivingduring the summertime, citing better road conditions (83 percent)and nicer weather (81 percent) as reasons.

34.6M drivers will hit the road Memorial Day weekend

Despite drivers' self-confidence, MemorialDay commences the most dangerous season of the year on theroad, with more auto accidents occurring during summer months thanany other time of year, according to National Highway TrafficSafety Administration (NHTSA). More than 34.6 million Americanswill hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, thetraditional launch of the U.S. summer vacation season, according to AAA.

Three-quarters of drivers (74 percent) falselybelieve that summer has fewer accidents than othertimes of the year. Similarly, drivers are three times less likelyto be vigilant, (e.g., alert and focused on immediate surroundings)while driving during summer months than during winter.

Summer driving mistakes

Drivers report other differences in seasonal driving behaviorsthat suggest reduced vigilance during summer months:

  • Eight in 10 drivers (81 percent) said they were lesslikely to drive cautiously (e.g., taking extra care withstopping, turning and attention to speed) in the summertime.
  • Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they were lesslikely to pay close attention to other drivers on the roadin the summer compared to winter months.
  • Drivers are nearly three times less likely to check thecondition of their tires in the summer.

Heat is enemy of tires

“Drivers tend to think about their tires in the winter, whenslippery, icy roads require maximum traction. But heat is the enemyof tires,” said Sarah Robinson, driving safety expert atMichelin. “Some of the most severe tire-related episodes are due tounder-inflated tires in summer months.”

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Jayleen R. Heft

Jayleen Heft is the digital content editor for PropertyCasualty360.com. Contact her at [email protected].