Fatal Auto Accidents Increase Over Summer Months
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of fatal auto accidents rise during the summer with approximately 2,800 fatal crashes occurring individually in the months of June and July. The IIHS reports that June through September experiences the most fatal auto accidents than any other time of year.
What Causes More Summertime Auto Accidents?
So, what exactly makes summer more dangerous for drivers? There are several factors that contribute to these increased auto accidents:
Summer Road Trips Equal More Drivers
Many people put off vacations until the summer. After all, the weather is nice and children are out of school for a couple of months, making summer an ideal time to take a family getaway. However, this also means more people are on the highways than any other time of year. When traffic becomes congested, the chance of an accident occurring increases. Drivers who are unfamiliar with the area can be unpredictable. Vacationers may drive slower looking for unknown streets or exits and may make last-minute driving decisions. Drivers should be hyper aware of other motorists who appear to be making erratic moves on the road.
More Teens and Young Adults Driving on the Roadways
Studies have found that teens and young adults are at a greater risk of being involved in a car accident. In fact, auto accidents are the leading cause of accidental death for individuals aged 15-29. More than half of all fatal car accidents involve people 15-44 years old. Summer brings the end of the school year, so more teens and young adults are on the roadways. These drivers tend to make more traffic mistakes than experienced motorists, resulting in increased accidents.
Extreme Temperatures Causing Tire Blowouts
Increased summer temperatures can take a toll on your tires. As temperatures rise, the excess heat expands the air inside tires, which can eventually cause a blowout. To minimize this risk, you should check each tire’s air pressure periodically during the summer and always before going on a long road trip.
Number of Motorcycles and Bicycles Increase
With summer, drivers will notice more motorcycles and bicycles on the road thanks to the warm temperatures. The IIHS found that 777 bicyclists were killed in auto accidents in 2017 alone. Due to their compact size, these cyclists can be difficult to see on the road, so you should exercise extreme caution and check your mirrors and blind spots before making turns, changing lanes, and performing other traffic maneuvers.
The Federal Highway Administration reports that 799 people lost their lives in 2017 due to an accident in a work zone. Road construction during the summer months can be especially deadly as the roads become more crowded and more difficult for drivers to navigate. Drivers should slow down and follow all road signs to avoid driving in an area that has been designated for construction crews.
What You Can Do to Reduce the Risk of an Auto Accident
Car accidents are the 9thleading cause of all reported deaths. Safer driving practices can help reduce the number of people who are hurt or killed on the roadways. Follow these tips to be a safe summer driver:
1. Be on High Alert
As a driver, it’s your responsibility to be aware of other motorists when you are on the road. If you notice anyone driving erratically, they may be unsure of their direction, so you should give them plenty of room to maneuver. A safe distance is about three seconds of space between you and the other vehicle.
2. Check Fluid Levels
It is especially important to make sure your engine’s fluid levels are sufficient before departing on a summer road trip. When the levels are too low, it can cause your engine to overheat. If your vehicle breaks down, another motorist might not notice you have stopped and crash into you. You or your auto professional should check the coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid on a periodic schedule to ensure that they remain at an appropriate level.
3. Inflate Tires
Poorly inflated tires can also increase your risk of a blowout. Normally, tires should be checked on a monthly basis, but you may need to check them more often during the summer, especially if you decide to take a trip. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended inflation pressure. You may also find this information on the door jamb of the driver’s side.
4. Keep the AC Going
Extreme heat can result in increased driver fatigue. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy drivingaccounted for 795 deaths in just the year 2017 alone. You can reduce your risk by making sure your vehicle’s air conditioning is on. If you begin to notice that it isn’t cooling your car as well as it used to, have it checked by an auto repair professional. It could be low on refrigerant or need a new air filter, or there could be a problem with your system that will need to be addressed by a qualified technician.
5. Be Prepared for Roadside Emergencies
Any number of things can happen out on the road, especially when traffic is heavier during the summertime. You should be prepared with an emergency roadside kit. This kit should include:
- Cell phone and charging cord
- Gauge for tire pressure
- Jumper cables
- Water bottles
- First aid kit
- Tire jack
- Duct tape
- Basic repair tools
- Work gloves
- Nonperishable foods
- Blankets and towels
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen
Having these items in your vehicle can make all the difference in the event of an accident or breakdown.
Call a Bakersfield Auto Accident Lawyer
If you are involved in a car accident this summer, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer about your rights. Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be entitled to pursue compensation from the other driver. Contact the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones in Bakersfield for a case evaluation today.