Summer road hazards

12 minute read Published on Jun 19, 2023 by BrokerLink Communications

Black car driving fast on a narrow mountain road.

When you think of road hazards, many people think of winter. They picture ice, snow, and slippery surfaces, and immediately assume that this is the most dangerous time of year to drive. But the reality is that all seasons come with road hazards, and that includes summer. From potholes and engine overheating to dehydration and sun glare, there are many dangers that summer drivers need to be aware of. We break down some of these hazards below.

Top summer driving hazards to know

The best way to stay safe on the road is to know what you’re up against. That is why the BrokerLink team has put together the following list of summer driving hazards to be aware of in Canada:


After the long, harsh winter that most of Canada experiences, potholes not only become more common but also more severe. Potholes are often created due to extreme temperature swings and the melting of frozen ice and rain, all of which puts pressure on the road. Pair this with increased traffic and wear and tear on roads, and you get potholes - sometimes large ones. Thus, in the summertime, it’s especially important to be on alert for these road hazards, especially if you are travelling at high speeds. Hitting a big pothole can cause major damage to your vehicle.

An overheated engine

Summertime in Canada is hot, and driving in hot weather can wreak havoc on your car’s engine. More specifically, high temperatures are known to exacerbate issues with your car’s cooling system, in addition to several other mechanical issues. Thus, an overheated engine can quickly become your reality unless you take proper precautions, like regularly checking the coolant and cooling system and performing maintenance as needed. There is nothing worse than engine overheating causing you to be stranded on the side of the road. If you notice signs of engine overheating, the best thing you can do is quickly and safely pull over and turn off the car.

Sun glare

Sun glare is another summer road hazard that is important for drivers to be aware of. Although we all welcome the sun after a long, cold winter, sunlight can easily blind drivers, leading to major accidents. Thankfully, there are a few ways you can reduce the sun glare while driving, which include wearing sunglasses, using the sun visor in your car, keeping your windshield clean, and replacing your windshield wipers regularly to prevent damage.

Increased traffic on the road

The summertime often translates to more cars on the road. Since more people are out and about, the odds of getting into an accident go up. Even if the locals are not travelling, most tourists prefer to travel in the summertime when the weather is nicer. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and focus on driving safely and responsibly at all times.

More cyclists

In addition to more cars on the road, you will also start to notice more cyclists on the road come summer. Getting into an accident with a cyclist can have grave consequences, which is why it’s so important to check your blind spot, manoeuvre slowly through intersections, give cyclists as much space as possible, and pass by them slowly.

More motorcycles

The warm summer weather also means more motorcycles. Like cyclists, many bikers prefer to hit the road when the weather is nice. Be on alert for motorcycles on both highways and smaller roads. Double check before switching lanes, especially given that many bikers engage in lane splitting, despite it being illegal in Canada. For more information on group motorcycle safety or if you want to read a motorcycle riding safety guide, contact BrokerLink. We can also help answer questions about motorcycle insurance, like “Is year-round insurance for my motorcycle necessary?


Being dehydrated can lead to many physical health issues, some of which may impede your ability to drive. Thus, it’s important as a driver to stay hydrated and cool all summer long. Roll your windows down while driving, leave one window or the sunroof cracked open when the vehicle is parked, turn on the AC, and keep a water bottle in your car. This way, you can remain alert while driving in the summer.

Young drivers on the road

The summer months often bring more young and inexperienced drivers on the road. This is because the summer is when teens are out of school, giving them more time to practice their driving skills. While practicing driving and developing safe driving habits is important, other drivers should be on high alert, as young drivers are statistically the most likely to get into accidents due to their limited experience.

Heavy precipitation

Rain and thunderstorms are more common in the summer than they are in the winter. Although these conditions might not be as treacherous as hail or black ice, they can still be dangerous. If you live in an area prone to heavy summer rain, which can quickly lead to flash floods, be sure to drive cautiously, especially when the weather forecast is calling for precipitation. High amounts of rain in short periods can not only lead to visibility issues but can also cause hydroplaning.


Animals are unpredictable and they’re undeniably more active during the summer months. Thus, even if you live in urban areas but especially if you live in more rural areas, be sure to drive slowly and be on alert for deer, skunks, squirrels, opossums, and more. You cannot predict when a deer is going to leap out in front of you, and swerving to avoid one or hitting one can have serious consequences for you and other drivers.

Young children

In a way, young children are like animals in that the way they behave can be unpredictable. Therefore, when driving through residential areas in the summer or near parks, take extra caution. Drive below the speed limit and remain vigilant.


Generally speaking, summer means an increase in the number of pedestrians on the road. As with children, animals, or cyclists, be extra vigilant in busy pedestrian areas, such as parks, beaches, or cities. Drive slowly when turning or going through an intersection and check twice to make sure that no pedestrians are on the road.


Summer is the season of construction, much to the chagrin of drivers everywhere. Road repairs, such as road resurfacing, and the construction of homes and buildings are far more common in the summer. This means closed roadways, construction works and equipment on the side of the road, and potentially even debris in the middle of the road. When driving through a construction zone, drive slowly at all times. Most work zone injuries and deaths occur during the summer and fall months. Remain calm, slow down, and do not make a last minute U-turn that can have serious consequences.

Loose chippings

Be on the lookout for loose chippings, which become more common in the summer due to road resurfacing. When roads are repaired with tar, loose chippings are frequently kicked up by cars moving over them. They can cause cracks in windshields, headlamps, and more.

Driver fatigue

Driver fatigue is a year-round hazard, but it might be worse in the summer due to longer days, later nights, and increased sun exposure. To avoid this creeping sense of drowsiness, don’t get behind the wheel if you’re too tired to drive. If you notice that you’ve started feeling less alert, stop for some coffee or pull over altogether.

Farm machinery

Summer is the peak season for farmers, so if you live near a farm, you might notice an increase in the amount of farm machinery on the road. Tractors are not only hefty, but they are often soundproof, which makes them even more dangerous. Do not try to pass them if you see one. Instead, leave plenty of room between you and them, and only overtake if you have lots of space to do so.

Tire blowouts

Tire blowouts are more common in the summer than in the winter due to the warmer temperatures. For this reason, regular vehicle maintenance is important. Check your tire pressure frequently and look for signs of cracking in the sidewall or tread.

Summer driving tips

Safe driving tips are useful any time of year, but they may be especially important in the summer when there are an increased number of hazards on the road. Now that you know some of the main dangers that come with summer driving, we’re going to provide some summer driving tips to help you overcome them:

Maintain your vehicle

Extreme heat and sun will take a toll on any car. From engine overheating to tire blowouts, the increased pressure on your vehicle can spell trouble. That is why our first summer driving tip is to have a professional maintain your vehicle. Schedule a check-up at your local auto body shop or perform the routine maintenance yourself. Whichever you choose, this check-up should include checking the brakes, tire pressure, and tread, testing the vehicle’s cooling system, and topping up all the necessary fluids. This is the best way to avoid a mechanical malfunction in the summertime.

Keep an eye out for distracted drivers

Whether it’s parents with young kids in the back heading out for a family road trip or teenage drivers getting in some practice before their big road test, summer is filled with distracted drivers. Given that distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in Canada, it is important to remain vigilant. Be on the lookout for distracted drivers and drive extra cautiously when you notice them. This means slowing down and leaving ample space, at least two car lengths between your vehicle and theirs.

Check the weather every day

You might think that summer weather is hot and sunny every day. But the reality is that many parts of the country experience flash flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms. Major downpours can quickly make roads extremely unsafe. For this reason, be sure to check the weather before you leave the house. If the forecast shows inclement weather, consider staying home or taking public transit.

Be alert when driving on holidays or long weekends

The summer is filled with long weekends, and while fun, they typically translate to more drivers on the road and a higher risk of impaired driving. So if you plan to drive over Victoria Day weekend, Canada Day weekend, or Labour Day weekend, we recommend hitting the road early to avoid traffic and not driving too late at night to reduce the odds of getting into an accident with a driver who is under the influence.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Glare is real and is a major problem in the summer due to the increased number of sunny days. Protect your eyes by keeping sunglasses in the car with you at all times. Polarized glasses are recommended. We also recommend using the sun visor in your car when appropriate. This can help mitigate the harsh glare coming off the road, making it safer for you to drive.

Leave extra room

Leaving room around you is always smart when driving, as it gives you more time to react and avoid an accident. However, it’s especially important in the summer due to the increase in traffic and construction zones. There might also be an influx of tourists driving in your city.

Stay cool and hydrated

Heat can quickly make any driver drowsy. Even if you don’t have heat stroke, a day spent in the sun can lead to exhaustion and overheating. Combat this by staying hydrated. Keep a water bottle in your car, drink coffee or your preferred caffeinated beverage, wear light, breathable clothing, wear a hat, turn on the AC, and take breaks as needed.

Be vigilant when driving through smoke and fog

Fog is more common in the summer, as is smoke, especially if you live in a part of Canada prone to forest fires. Thus, it’s important to know the best strategies for driving in these types of inclement weather. First, turn on your exterior lights, such as your low beams or fog lights, to increase visibility. Slow down so that you know you can stop within the distance you see in front of you. Avoid passing or overtaking when driving in smoke or fog, and do not stop. If you need to stop, pull over completely before doing so and turn on your hazards.

Keep your windshield clean

One of the best defences against sun glare is to keep your windshield clean at all times. Top up the wiper fluid and replace old windshield wipers as necessary, and repair any chips or cracks - no matter how small - as soon as you notice them.

Car insurance coverage for summer driving

No matter what time of year you drive, even if you only drive in the summer, you still need to purchase insurance. If you drive a car, then you’ll need a valid car insurance policy. Alternatively, if you drive a motorcycle, then you are legally required to purchase a motorcycle insurance policy. Either way, your coverage options will be similar, and your mandatory coverage requirements will be the same. We lay out the car insurance coverage that you are required to have as a driver in any season, along with the car insurance coverage that you have the option of adding to your policy:

Third party liability coverage

Liability insurance is to help drivers if they cause a car accident. If you get into an accident that you are liable for, you can be compensated for the cost of any legal fees, medical fees, or repair bills relating to the collision under the liability portion of your auto insurance policy. This type of coverage is mandatory, and depending on where you live, you may even be required to purchase a certain amount of it. For example, in Ontario and Alberta, all drivers must have at least $200,000 worth of liability car insurance at all times.

Accident benefits coverage

Accident benefits coverage can compensate policyholders if they get into an accident and medical attention is required. Whether you, the policyholder, required medical attention following the collision, or it was someone else involved in the accident that required it, this type of coverage can reimburse you for the medical expenses incurred. Accident benefits coverage usually pays for medical bills not covered by the person’s health insurance.

Direct compensation - property damage coverage

Direct compensation - property damage coverage can pay for the cost of vehicle repairs following a car accident. The main stipulation with direct compensation - property damage coverage is that you cannot have caused the accident. In addition, with this type of coverage, the insurance payout you get usually comes directly from your insurer.

Uninsured automobile coverage

Uninsured automobile coverage is the final type of mandatory car insurance coverage in Ontario and it covers drivers if they are involved in an accident with an uninsured, underinsured, or unidentified driver. Thus, uninsured automobile coverage also protects drivers against hit and runs.

Collision coverage

Collision car coverage is optional but can come in handy. It compensates drivers who damage their vehicles in an accident, no matter who caused the accident. The accident can also have been with another driver or an object on the road. While usually optional, it might be mandatory if you lease or finance your vehicle.

Comprehensive coverage

Comprehensive car coverage is another type of optional auto insurance coverage in Canada. It protects your vehicle from a wide variety of damage that is not related to collisions. For instance, it can protect your car from theft or damage that occurs while it is parked. Specifically, comprehensive coverage will cover you if the damage is caused by a named peril in your policy. Named perils vary but may include fire, wind, water damage, theft, vandalism, falling objects, collision with an animal, and more.

Accident forgiveness coverage

One final type of optional car insurance coverage popular among drivers is accident forgiveness. Accident forgiveness is additional coverage that can be added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, to protect your driving record and to help prevent your insurance premium from increasing if you have an at-fault accident claim. Note: coverage varies by province.

Learn more summer driving tips by contacting BrokerLink

If you want more summer driving tips from licensed professionals, contact BrokerLink today. We can provide further insight into summer road hazards, as well as common winter road hazards. As a full-service insurance brokerage, we can also help you find a quality car insurance policy, or help with other tasks like renewing car insurance, adding another driver to your policy, or explaining the cost benefits of multiple auto insurance policies.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about our unbeatable insurance solutions. You can also request a free auto insurance quote by getting in touch today. We offer free quotes online, over the phone, or in person. Take advantage of our free online quote tool and you can receive a competitive car insurance quote in as little as five minutes.

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