Summer is a time for vacation, relaxation, and enjoying the outdoors. Summer is also, however, a dangerous time to be on the roads. But wait – how can that be? Aren’t the Colorado mountain roads much more dangerous during a snowy, icy winter? Not necessarily. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (or IIHS, for short) has frequently reported that August is the month with the highest number of traffic fatalities. Thousands of fatal traffic accidents also occur in the months of July and September. So, what gives?
The Dangers of Summer Driving
There are multiple reasons why the risks and hazards associated with summer driving actually surpass those of the winter months. Here are a few key causes:
- Teen Drivers – During the summer months, you can expect there to be a higher number of inexperienced teen drivers out on the roads. Research has shown time and again that teen drivers are much more likely to be involved in auto accidents when compared to other age groups.
- Vacationers – Most Americans pack up the car, truck, or RV and head out on the open road for a family vacation during the summer holidays. With roads being more congested, especially with those who are unfamiliar with the area, you can naturally expect the number of accidents to increase.
- Motorcyclists and Bicyclists – When the weather is beautiful, motorcyclists and bicyclists come out in droves. These vehicles add to the congestion while being less visible and less protected, thereby adding to the risk of being involved in an accident.
- Tire Blowouts – Tires tend to blow out a lot more frequently during the summer. This is because tires expand due to the hot asphalt and are prone to wearing out much more easily in the heat.
The Most Dangerous Times to Drive During the Summer
The risks associated with being in a vehicle accident are increased throughout the entire summer, but there are a few periods of time when these risks are even higher. We’re already past two of the biggest problem timeframes – Memorial Day and the 4th of July — which leaves these two timeframes to watch out for:
- Heat Wave Periods — Be extra cautious on the hottest day or days of the summer, as heat waves can increase the number of traffic accidents. When asphalt becomes superheated, it can wreak havoc on tires, leading to blowouts and tread separation. Heat can also cause drowsy and fatigued drivers. Some people even believe that the heat increases the likelihood of road rage because, let’s face it, no one is happy when it’s sweltering outside.
- Labor Day – The unofficial “end” to summer, Labor Day weekend presents further opportunity for accidents related to high volumes of drivers out on the road and intoxicated drivers coming home from celebrations and get-togethers. If you are intent on going out and enjoying yourself, you must exercise extra caution.
Preventing Accidents During the Summer
Although accidents are not always avoidable, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident:
- Never drink and drive.
- Never drive when drowsy or fatigued.
- Avoid driving while on medications that induce drowsiness.
- Always be aware of motorcyclists and bicyclists on the road.
- Do not be distracted when driving – turn off electronics and only operate phones in hands-free mode.
Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy family and friends, and we wish all of our readers a safe and happy time. If, however, you do find yourself the victim of an automobile accident-related injury, we urge you to call the legal experts at Mintz Law Firm for a free consultation right away.