7 summer hazards for van drivers

Winter is statistically the most dangerous time to drive on UK roads, with most accidents occurring during the season. This is hardly a surprise, given winter’s often adverse weather conditions, coupled with the shorter days (meaning more time driving in the dark).

But driving during the summer months presents its own set of unique challenges for drivers – van drivers included.

So we thought it would be useful to explore some of these common challenges and share some advice on how you can prepare for them.

Before we get to that, if you’re looking to return to the road following a motoring or non-motoring conviction, the Insurance Factory can help.

We can set you up with van insurance for convicted drivers, with your policy featuring all the benefits of standard van insurance.

We understand that the past is the past, and that you need insurance to be able to get your business back up and running again. That’s why we strive to find you great cover for a price that’s right.

Now let’s take a look at seven summer hazards to watch out for:

1.       Glare

Sun dazzle can be extremely dangerous when driving, especially if you’re travelling at speed.

Wearing sunglasses and using your van’s sun visor will help, but also make sure that your windscreen is kept nice and clean because dirt and grime can increase glare.

That means replacing your wipers if they’re old – particularly if they have started squeaking or leave smears when they’re used.

Glare from the sun peeking between thick leaves from tree branches above

2.       Cyclists

Summer means more cyclists on the roads, so you need to have your wits about you at all times. Here are some things to bear in mind:
  • Keep your distance – three feet of space at the very least.
  • Pass slowly and with caution – don’t risk squeezing past when there’s limited room.
  • If you’re overtaking, hang back until it’s safe to pull the manoeuvre and give the cyclist plenty of space when you pull back in.
  • Don’t pull out in front of cyclists at a roundabout – they could be going faster than you think.
  • Always check your mirrors but especially when turning left – if a cyclist is near the junction then let them pass it before turning in.
  • When your van’s parked, check the wing mirror before getting out to make sure a cyclist isn’t approaching.

3.       Overheating

Driving in hot temperatures can take its toll on your van, putting it at risk of overheating.

The best way to stop this from happening is to check your coolant and cooling system on a regular basis.

It could be a good idea to get your van’s radiator flushed by a professional – check the manual to see how often you should be getting it flushed.

4.       Tyre issues

If the tyres on your van are already in poor condition, then summer’s warmer temperatures put them at a greater risk of blowouts and punctures – which could lead to accidents.

Again, regular maintenance will help to lower the chance of you suffering any tyre-related issues while on the road.

You should be checking tyre tread depth (1.6mm as an absolute minimum) and pressure (as per the van’s user manual) every couple of weeks, and even more regularly if you drive your van a lot as part of your job.

A person using a tool to check the depth of their tyre

5.       Hayfever

If you’re someone who suffers from hayfever during the summer months, you need to be extra cautious when you’re on the road.

You should:
  • Close the windows to stop pollen from getting inside the vehicle, also closing off the air vents.
  • Double check any hayfever medication you’re on to make sure it doesn’t cause drowsiness.
  • Regularly clean your van, especially the upholstery and mats.
  • Get someone else to drive if you feel really under the weather from your hayfever, or postpone the trip until your symptoms improve.
  • Wear sunglasses if your eyes are extra sensitive due to hayfever.

6.       Loose gravel/chippings

With lots of roadworks taking place during the warmer months, you might find yourself driving over loose gravel/chippings more often.

This presents its own risks, as chippings can be flicked up from vehicles in front, with the potential to crack your van’s windscreen or headlights, not to mention damage the paintwork.

To cut the risk of your van being damaged, drive extra cautiously over loose gravel, abiding by any temporary speed limit enforcements where appropriate.

Also keep a little more distance than usual between your van and the vehicles in front.

On that note, be wary of the fact that roadworks can make the roads more congested, with diversions increasing traffic in certain areas.

The best thing you can do is be patient, allow plenty of time before trips to account for potential reroutes, and follow the temporary signs in place.

7.       Farming vehicles

If you live or drive in rural areas, you should expect to meet more farming vehicles on your travels during summer.

While the Highway Code states that tractor drivers shouldn’t hold up long queues of traffic, you need to acknowledge that sometimes it may not be suitable for them to pull over.

So again, be patient, refrain from driving too close (as this can increase the risk of accidents) and only overtake if you feel it’s 100% safe to do so.

If you do overtake, bear in mind that the tractor could be longer than you think as it may have a loader on the front.

A farm tractor with a trailer attached driving along a country road

Van insurance for convicted drivers

Hopefully these top tips will help to keep you safe on the road and limit the risk of accidents during summer and beyond.

Remember, before you get on the road again you need cover – and the Insurance Factory is the place to go for van insurance for convicted drivers.

As well as arranging cover to meet the unique needs of you, your van and your business, we may be able to arrange optional extras such as excess protection, and breakdown, accidental damage and tool cover.

Get a quote today!