August comes in second for the most fatal accidents, following October. There’s probably not much very harsh winter weather in either month, but August averaged 3,037 fatal accidents in 2014 against October’s 3,068. More, June, July and September come in with about 2,800 fatal accidents each. Summer is definitely a time for caution behind the wheel. Here are 5 reasons why.
1. Teens Take to the Road. They’re driving more often than when school is in session. They may be driving to their summer job or picking up their friends for a day of fun. Statistically, teens are involved in more accidents than any other age group. Their risk of an auto accident is almost 3 times higher than that of drivers 20 and older. There are about 6 teenage deaths from motor vehicle accidents every day. They may not have the experience to make critical decisions; they are more likely to speed. And, you can’t leave out accidents caused by distracted driving – think radio, texting and phone use.
2. There is More Congestion. This is especially true on routes to popular vacation spots. Traffic jams can cause accidents of all levels of severity. They can also lead to road rage which in turn can have serious consequences. If you’re caught in traffic, stay cool. Be prepared for drivers who may cut you off. Also, keep in mind that while your family may be returning to a spot you visit every summer, some drivers will be newcomers finding their way and that can lead to erratic driving.
3. It’s Really Hot. And, that heat is not good for your tires. You’ve seen highways littered with tread that has peeled off semi-trucks or cars. Blowouts can cause a serious accident. Check your tires on a regular basis and make sure that they are properly inflated. If you are following a car that appears ready to have tire trouble, back off. Flying rubber can not only do a number on your car; it can also fly into your field of vision so you are driving blind. Another hot weather tip – carry water so you don’t become dehydrated. You can also carry water in case your car overheats, but remember – don’t touch that cap on the radiator until the car has cooled. Otherwise, you risk a dangerous and painful burn.
4. It’s Under Construction. It feels like there’s roadwork no matter what route you take. Between 2005 and 2014, there were over 770 driving fatalities in construction and maintenance zones. Slow down and follow all signs. Summer is the time when many road repairs are done so be ready.
5. Two Wheels Mean You Need to be Extra Observant and Cautious. Bicycles and motorcycles are both more common when the weather is nice. Share the road! Be extra vigilant whether you’re driving in a neighborhood where children may be out riding their bikes or sharing a highway or byway with motorcycles and their drivers. Be especially careful if they are riding alongside your car. Don’t trust kids on bikes to follow all the rules – give them plenty of space so you can react to any unexpected move they may make.
Another safety tip involves where you keep (or don’t keep) your car. Your garage door is going to have a long summer. It’s hot and that door is probably going to go up and down more than usual as the kids get their summer sporting gear and bikes – and, more often as you drive to the pool, the beach or that air conditioned movie. Start summer by having a complete safety and maintenance by a licensed garage repair and replacement company. It’s another way to make sure you have a safe, happy summer.