Just as each season is beautiful in its own way, each season presents its own dangers to drivers. While many people equate summertime with family road trips, days spent at the pool or park with friends, and endless sunshine, the summer season can also be associated with unique driving hazards. Below, we will discuss summer driving hazards to be aware of and how to avoid or prepare for these dangers.
Dangerous Holiday Weekends
During the holiday weekends, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists are at a greater risk of being involved in an accident that involves drunk driving, speeding, or other forms of reckless driving. The summer, which generally falls between mid-June and mid-September, has some of the deadliest holidays for drivers.
According to data from ValuePenguin, Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day Weekend, and the Fourth of July weekend are the top three deadliest holiday weekends in the United States. While an average of 250 fatal accidents can occur during a normal 3-day weekend, the average number of fatalities drastically increases during holiday weekends.
- During Memorial Day weekend, an average of 312 fatal accidents occur.
- During Labor Day weekend, an average of 308 fatal accidents occur.
- During the 4th of July weekend, an average of 307 fatal accidents occur.
To stay safe during holiday weekends, you can:
- Avoid driving while under the influence (i.e. Uber, walk, have a sober driver, etc.) and encourage friends and family to also drive sober.
- Avoid driving later at night or at all during the holiday weekend.
- Drive with extra caution and/or more defensively.
The summer is a popular time to travel and vacation. Whether you are driving around locally or while on vacation yourself, you will likely notice more drivers and traffic, especially in tourist areas. Vacationers can be dangerous as they may be distracted by passengers or the sights; in some cases, they may even be drowsy. Because of increased traffic, vacationers or locals may suffer from road rage and lose their patience when they run into traffic.
Safety tips concerning vacation traffic include:
- Stay hydrated.
- Take breaks during long stretches of driving.
- Drive defensively.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Keep a level head if you run into traffic.
- Don’t tailgate.
As temperatures rise, your tires may expand, which can lead to a tire blowout. In some cases, your tires may also be deflated or have low pressure from the cool weather of the previous seasons.
Drivers can also suffer blowouts because of potholes or other poor conditions on the roads. The number of potholes is typically increased during the spring and summer because the winter months and cold can crack the pavement and create potholes.
To avoid getting into an accident caused by a tire blowout, you should:
- Conduct regular vehicle maintenance, including checking your tire pressure.
- Invest in a spare tire.
- Replace worn tires.
- Avoid potholes or cracks in the pavement (when possible).
- Avoid speeding.
Higher temperatures can also cause your engine to overheat, which can lead to a vehicle breakdown or engine fire. Safety tips concerning this hazard include:
- Keep coolant or water bottles in your car.
- Check your engine’s belts and hoses regularly.
- Ensure your vehicle’s air conditioning system is functioning.
- Pull over immediately if your engine begins overheating or smoking.
The most popular seasons for construction are spring and summer. Because of construction work, drivers may encounter more frequent roadblocks and traffic jams, and construction workers are at risk of being injured in an accident while in their work zone.
To stay safe during summer construction, you should:
- Adhere to the advised speed limit in the work zone.
- Plan for delays or detours.
- Consider taking an alternative route (if you know construction is happening).
- Merge early when you see signs for an upcoming work zone.
- Avoid distractions (i.e. texting, fiddling with the radio, grooming, eating, etc.).
- Pay attention.
Rain, Floods, & Other Inclement Weather Conditions
During the summer, many states (including Texas and Illinois) experience heavy rain during May and June. Sometimes, drivers may suffer from flooding or hailstorms as well. In any season, dangerous weather conditions can negatively impact drivers’ safety.
To prepare for inclement weather and stay safe, you can:
- Check the weather before traveling.
- Ensure your windshield wipers are working efficiently.
- Check your windshield wiper fluid.
- Drive slowly during a storm.
- Consider pulling over.
- Turn into a spin if you begin hydroplaning.
Animals may be coming out of their hibernation period and can be attracted to the vegetation around the highways or roads. Drivers can suffer serious injuries or die after hitting or swerving to avoid an animal. Summer driving safety tips concerning increased wildlife are:
- Avoid driving or drive more cautiously during dusk and dawn.
- Use your headlights when needed.
- Slowdown in animal crossing zones.
- Always wear your seatbelt.
Increased Foot Traffic & Cyclists
It’s summertime, which means that more pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists are going to be out and about now. Drivers owe these people a duty of care and should take steps to ensure they share the road. To stay safe and avoid an accident, you should:
- Check twice before making a turn.
- Allow cyclists a bit of space.
- Stop when you encounter a crosswalk.
- Don’t speed especially in urban areas.
- Be cautious when you make lane changes or open your car door.
- Watch for distracted cyclists and pedestrians.
- Avoid passing other vehicles in crosswalk zones or at intersections.
Many teen drivers may be practicing for their driver’s test or taking to the road alone for the first time, and they are known for being more reckless and inexperienced. To stay safe from inexperienced drivers, you should:
- Look out for student driver stickers.
- Inform your teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
- Wear your seatbelt.
- Avoid cars that are speeding or engaging in reckless activities.
If you are injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident this summer, contact the team at Mathias Raphael PLLC Accident & Injury Lawyers today by calling (214) 739-0100 or reaching out online.