Summertime is here, and that means fun holidays like Memorial Day and Independence Day, summer road trips, and family vacations. Summer is a busy driving season and also a time when the chances of encountering a distracted driver are higher. All of these factors combined make it more difficult to avoid car accidents during the summer months.
Car Accidents and Fatalities Increase During the Summer
According to 2016 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is a definite uptick in car accidents nationally as we transition from spring to summer. The number of crashes nationwide increases during the summer, with the most (both fatal and non-fatal) occuring during August.
If you live in Pennsylvania, the data is even more disturbing. The 2016 Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics show that June is Pennsylvania’s deadliest month of the year as car accidents rise with the onset of summer.
Why Do Car Accidents Increase During the Summer?
It should come as no surprise that there are more accidents during summer months. Most people take vacation during the summer, and with those vacations come day trips and extended road trips. With school being out, more inexperienced teen drivers are also on the roads.
Holiday celebrations, cookouts, and camping trips are common during the summer and that means a potential increase in impaired driving. Driving under the influence significantly increases the chances of an accident, even for the safest of drivers. To make matters more challenging, it’s not unusual for there to be an increase in road construction during the summer months, which leads to an increase in hazardous conditions that drivers must contend with.
There are many different ways that heat can put a strain on your car and affect its function, too:
- Long summer car trips result in vibrations that can damage your batteries.
- Hot pavement can increase tire pressure.
- Low coolant levels can cause engine temperatures to rise and adversely affect performance.
- If temperatures get high enough, wiper blades can melt onto the windshield.
How to Prepare for a Road Trip to Avoid Car Accidents
If you are heading out for a road trip this summer, there are a few simple things you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safer and avoid car accidents.
To start with, always get a tune-up for your car before you head out. It’s important to ensure that your vehicle is safe, fluid levels are where they need to be, tire pressure is good, and your lights are functioning correctly.
Having kids in the car can lead to dangerous distractions. It’s a smart idea to bring some entertainment for the children to keep them occupied on long trips. Tablets with movies, games, and/or videos are always a safe bet. Playing songs to sing along to can also fill the time. If you prefer something low-tech, check out card games or travel games for kids.
Other important safety tips to keep in mind involve packing the car. To minimize items flying around during a sudden stop, strap down loose items in open cargo areas whenever feasible. Keep heavier objects as low as possible in the car.
Make sure you set your navigation before you pull out of the driveway or parking lot. You risk a serious accident if you adjust your GPS while driving. A quick glance away from the road could have deadly consequences, but maintaining your focus will help you avoid car accidents.
Finally, don’t forget that a lack of sleep is the cause of countless car accidents. Make sure that you are well-rested before you head out on the road.
How to Avoid Car Accidents During the Trip
Once you’re on the road, there are a few simple precautions you can take to reduce your chances of being in an accident. The first is to switch drivers regularly, and ideally, every couple of hours. If one driver starts getting tired, sleepy, or has difficulty concentrating on the road, it’s time to either give someone else a chance to drive or stop and rest. In fact, anytime you start feeling drowsy, pull over and take a little time to recharge. Driving sleepy or weary isn’t worth the risk, and a short nap will go a long way.
Here’s something you might not have thought of – eat food that keeps you full and provides you with ample energy. Your favorite food might give you a sugar high and keep you going for a little while longer, but the effect is only temporary. Avoid junk food and try to eat healthy, filling food that will give you a consistent supply of energy.
You already know this, but it’s worth repeating – ignore your phone while you are driving. Even if you have a hands-free phone, don’t use it. It isn’t just the matter of taking your eyes off the road that makes phones so dangerous, it’s taking your attention off the road, too. Distractions are deadly, regardless of the source.
Need a Trusted Car Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, call Donaghue & Labrum right away. We specialize in car accidents, as well as motorcycle, truck, and bus accidents and will fight to get you the settlement that you deserve. Let us put our 30 years of experience to work for you. Whether it was a minor fender-bender or a multi-car accident, Donaghue & Labrum can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.