The sun is shining, school is out, and vacations loom ahead. Summertime is a time for enjoying the outdoors and for road trips with family. Increased activity on city streets and highways, however, can lead to summertime car accidents. Don’t ruin your summer fun by spending your vacation in the hospital. Use the following tips for driving defensively this summer:
Check Your Tires
As AAA points out, your tires are the only part of your car that touches the ground. Tires that are cracking, bulging, and that have breaks in the actual tread are a danger on hot pavement. At highway speeds, tires in this condition are at risk for a blowout. When this occurs, you can quickly lose control of your car.
Before any road trip, check your tires for tread depth, inflation, and overall condition. AAA recommends inflating your tires to manufacturers specifications, located on the inside of the door jamb, not the number on the tire.
Avoid Driving Drowsy
There are only so many hours in your vacation time so the need to make good time while driving appeals to many travelers. Driving without rest is dangerous. Consider the following statistics from AAA:
- Missing just two to three hours of sleep in a 24 hour period can quadruple a driver’s crash risk
- A driver who has less than 5 hours of sleep during a 24 hour period has crash risks similar to those of a drunk driver.
Symptoms of a drowsy driver include drifting between lanes and missing exits. To avoid driving while drowsy, take breaks from the road and take turns driving with other passengers.
When school is out, teen drivers take to the roadways, usually with a carload of their friends. Their inexperience along with congested highways filled with vacation traffic results in crashes that are sometimes deadly. The summertime problem of teen drivers and crashes is what AAA calls “The 100 Deadliest Days,” and includes the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Speeding and nighttime driving are two of the contributing factors cited by AAA. The organization estimates an average of 10 people killed a day during 2016 due to crashes involving teenagers—a 14 percent increase over 2015. Speaking with teens about the importance of safe driving habits is the best way of preventing crashes, according to AAA.
If traveling to your vacation destination involves a major highway, chances are you will encounter a construction zone. Summertime is a popular time for highway projects due to the warmer weather.
The U.S Federal Highway Administration shares the following statistics regarding construction zone crashes within the past five years:
- 4,400 people killed—85 percent of which were drivers or passengers
- 200,000 people injured
- Rear-end crashes from drivers failing to stop in time are the most common type of crash.
- A loaded 80,000 lb tractor trailer requires almost 50 percent more stopping time than a car.
The administration encourages drivers to stay alert, merge into the correct lane, and to slow down. Speeding, distracted, and even drunk drivers place not only other drivers at risk, but also the construction workers at risk for death or serious injury.
Watch for Bicycles and Motorcycles
Summertime provides great opportunities for bicyclists and motorcyclists to enjoy the open road. While both have the same rights as you when it comes to sharing the road, crash injuries are often worse for them. The lack of protection from striking the side of your vehicle or the pavement can result in serious trauma to their body.
Whether the law requires a helmet for bicycles or motorcycles depends upon the state. Most states do have helmet laws for minors when it comes to bicycles, but not for adults. State laws can vary for motorcycles also, however research shows that helmets provide important protection in the event of a crash.
In addition to bicycles and motorcycles, summer drivers must watch for pedestrians. Enjoying the summer sunshine for some may mean going for a walk or a jog. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following actions for driving defensively in high pedestrian areas this summer:
- Watch for pedestrians everywhere. Don’t focus solely on crosswalks as a pedestrian may step out in front of you any time, anywhere.
- Never try to pass a vehicle stopped at a crosswalk. The very reason they stopped can create danger for you and a pedestrian if you try to pass.
Be Proactive for a Safe Summer
These tips provide helpful advice for safely enjoying your summer. The care you exercise while traveling, with your car maintenance, in talking with your teen, and in staying alert in traffic, can save your life and the life of those around you. When other drivers fail to take the same care, they can ruin not only your summer, but possibly the rest of your life. If a reckless and negligent driver caused you serious harm, seek justice by contacting a personal injury lawyer right away.
Call the Boohoff Law Firm if a Car Crash Injured You
Our legal team believes those who drive with careless disregard for other drivers must be held accountable for their actions. A serious injury as the result of a car crash may cause you severe physical, financial, and emotional stress.
Summertime is a time for vacations, outdoor exercise, and spending time with friends and family. If you are seriously injured due to a negligent driver, no matter what season, call us at (877) 999-9999 or contact us to schedule a free evaluation for your case.
Don’t let a distracted, drunk, or aggressive driver ruin your summer or your future. The sooner we can review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you. If you are unable to come to one of our offices, we are happy to come to you, either at the hospital or your home. Let us help you seek the justice you deserve by reaching out to us today.