The hot summer months are many people’s favorite time of year. Whether you enjoy swimming, going on vacation, or just spending time with your kids while they’re off school, it’s easy to see why the summer months hold such a special place in so many people’s hearts.
Unfortunately, summer is also a dangerous time to be on the road. The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has even been dubbed the 100 Deadliest Days for teenage drivers. It is not just teens who are at risk, though. Any individual who spends time either as a driver or a passenger on the road during the summer is at risk of being involved in a collision. At The Solomon Law Group, we want everyone to enjoy the safest summer possible, which is why we have compiled their favorite tips to avoid summer car accidents.
Slow Down To Minimize Your Risk of an Accident
Driving above the posted speed limit is never safe. This is why one of our top tips for summer road safety is to simply slow down.
Speed limits are set by taking a number of factors into consideration, including things like road characteristics and conditions, pedestrian activity, visibility, and more. When you speed, you are not driving with respect to these factors and are putting yourself and others at risk for an accident.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is involved in around 33% of all traffic fatalities. Not only is speeding a common cause of car accidents, but the higher the speed, the more severe an accident will be. When you speed, you:
- Are more likely to lose control of your vehicle
- Need more time and distance to come to a full stop
- Will cause more severe damages and injuries in an accident
- Will experience less effective protection from seatbelts and airbags
The average person will drive 30.6 miles per day in the summer, more than any other time of the year. With more people on the road traveling for longer and longer distances, adding speed into the equation can ultimately be deadly.
To arrive safely at your destination, The Solomon Law Group encourages everyone to slow down and stick to the speed limit. Reducing your speed to below the posted speed limit is appropriate during adverse driving conditions, too, such as when there is inclement weather or you are traveling at night.
Minimize Distractions Behind the Wheel
You cannot fully focus on two tasks at the same time. What you might think of as multitasking is actually your brain rapidly switching attention between two or more tasks, not dividing your attention equally among those tasks. This leads to a repeated process of start, stop, start, stop on any given task. This is less efficient than simply focusing on just one task and leads to an increase in mistakes and mental fatigue.
Reducing and eliminating distractions behind the wheel is one of the most important tips to avoid summer car accidents.
When you engage in other activities while driving, you are pulling your attention away from the road and increasing your risk of being involved in a car accident. Never try to divide your attention between multiple tasks while driving. Instead, keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your head in the game.
While some behaviors obviously fall under the category of distracted driving, there are some everyday behaviors you might engage in without ever realizing how dangerous they can be. Here are some of the most common forms of distracted driving behavior:
- Texting or replying to work emails
- Scrolling through social media
- Making a phone call
- Taking a picture or video
- Eating or drinking
- Petting an animal
- Using global positioning system (GPS) navigation
Parents should talk to their children about the dangers of distracted driving early and often, and should always set a good example when children and teenagers are in the car. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you are a passenger and the driver is texting or otherwise engaging in a distracted driving behavior—you could help prevent a serious accident.
Even though it has become almost socially acceptable to drive with one hand on the wheel and another on your phone, do not mistake this practice for being safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that distracted drivers kill approximately 3,000 people every year. That’s around nine distracted driving fatalities a day. If you want to arrive safely at your destination, put away all distractions and give your full attention to the road to reduce your chances of being involved in a summer car accident.
Perform Vehicle Maintenance
The last thing you want on your road trip is to break down on the side of the road. An unexpected vehicle emergency could delay your arrival by hours or days, and may even require you to call off the entire trip.
Performing maintenance prior to hitting the road will not only help you avoid costly repairs, but will also help ensure that you arrive at your vacation destination safe and sound. You can perform maintenance at home or, if you lack the skill or the time, can take your car to a trusted auto mechanic for the following:
- Steering and suspension adjustment
- Tire alignment and inflation
- Brake check
- Fluid level check
- Fuel, cabin, and air filter replacements
- Battery charge
- Light check, including headlights and taillights
- Air conditioning check
Let your mechanic know if you are going on a road trip and if you have noticed any troubling issues with your vehicle. You can also take this time to restock your vehicle’s emergency kit with water, non-perishable foods, extra phone chargers, first aid kits, and blankets.
Travel During the Day When Possible
It is not uncommon for summer road trippers to drive through the night. Whether they are trying to make good time or simply want to arrive at their destination first thing in the morning, nighttime driving is certainly a popular choice when going on vacation. However, it is also a dangerous choice.
Despite only 25% of travel time taking place after the sun has set, 49% of traffic fatalities occur at night. The fatality rate is disproportionately higher at night. You are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident at night than you are during the day.
If possible, follow our tips to avoid summer car accidents by keeping your driving time to daytime hours. Plan ahead when and where you will stop, including which hotels you might stay at. If you cannot avoid traveling at night, you can lower your chances of being in a crash by:
- Reducing your speed below the posted limit
- Taking a 20-minute nap
- Drinking a coffee or something with caffeine before getting behind the wheel
- Familiarizing yourself with how and when to use your high beams
- Maintaining a safe driving distance between other vehicles
What Should You Do After a Summer Car Accident?
Life after a car accident can be complicated. On top of dealing with your physical injuries, you also have medical bills, missed paychecks, and auto repair bills.
The Solomon Law Group has helped victims of summer car accidents recover compensation for these and other related damages. To learn more about how you can hold the at-fault driver responsible for your own injuries, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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