While winter driving may be perceived as presenting the most dangers for motorists because of snow storms and icy roads, the summer season is not without its own list of hazardous driving situations. In fact, according to 2012 data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the highest number of fatal car accidents occur during the summer months, and the most fatalities of any month occurred in July, 2012, with 3,126 traffic deaths. August and June were second and third respectively, each with over 3,000 crash fatalities. So what is it about the warm summer months that make driving so deadly?
Less Experienced Drivers
School is out and, in many cases, teenagers new to driving are hitting the roads, often with a carload of friends and driving distractions. Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System
(FARS) indicates that teens are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents than any other age group.
Increased Traffic Congestion
With so many motorists heading to their favorite vacation destinations, road congestion is inevitable and increases the chance of an accident. Patience is the key to safe driving. Be aware of work zones before you leave on a trip and plan an alternate route if possible. If you encounter unexpected road construction, slow down and watch for lane
changes and merging vehicles.
Bicycles And Motorcycles
Sharing the road with two-wheelers is a summer staple, as the number of motorcycles and bicycles increases dramatically. According to IIHS data, 722 cyclists were involved in fatal accidents in 2012, most of which occurred during the three summer months. As
the professional on the road, watch for cyclists and be aware that they can disappear into your blind spots for several seconds. A double-check of your side and rearview mirrors before you make a move can help spot cyclists and avoid a collision. Apply these same safe driving habits with the increased number of often-distracted pedestrians in popular vacation areas.
Vacationing motorists aren’t always familiar with the routes they are taking. Watch for drivers’ hesitations, sudden braking and a tendency to drift into your lane of travel.
Leave space around anyone talking or texting on a cell phone, and slow down around erratic drivers.
Summer driving presents its own set of challenges, so slow down and add space whenever possible. Stay focused, check your mirrors and always signal your driving intentions.