Summer is a time for beach vacations and for visiting friends and family. Unfortunately, it is also a time when there is a greater risk of motor vehicle accidents because of more travelers and because of more inexperienced teen drivers on the roads while school is out.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day has been called the 100 Deadliest Days because the crash rates are so high. Drivers are at risk not only of involvement in a collision but also of a breakdown during the summer heat. There are some steps you can take to try to protect yourself from these dangers and have a fun and safe summer trip.
How to Have a Safe Summer Road Trip
Advice from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can help drivers get through the summer safely. NHTSA's tips include:
- Reducing the risk of a breakdown with appropriate vehicle maintenance. Manufacturer maintenance recommendations should always be followed. You should consider a preventative maintenance visit before going on a road trip, especially if you do not know the history of the maintenance work done on the car you are taking. A tune-up, battery check, tire check, and tire rotation can be helpful in avoiding unexpected surprises on the roadside.
- Focusing on the road and never driving distracted. Eighteen percent of injury crashes and 10 percent of deadly crashes on U.S. roads occur when drivers are not paying careful attention. Drivers need to ensure they are focused on the roads at al times and not on the phone, on pets or passengers in the car, on eating, or on doing anything other than driving.
- Staying sober and choosing a designated driver before you start drinking. Every 52 minutes in the United States, someone is killed because a driver is intoxicated behind the wheel. Drunk driving causes around 10,000 deaths each year and the summer is a high risk time for impaired driving due to teens being off school and holidays including Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. If you plan to drink, have a designated driver chosen before you go out.
- Following move-over laws. Move over laws require drivers who see an emergency vehicle on the road shoulder to either slow down until getting passed the vehicle or to change lanes if there is an open lane. These laws are designed to protect police and emergency workers from sustaining injuries.
- Buckling up. Both lap and shoulder belts should be used in order to reduce the risk of death in a car crash by 45 percent and to reduce the risk of serious injury by 50 percent.
- Putting kids into car seats when they are four and under and making sure kids 13 and under stay in the back seat so they are safe from air bag injuries. A child under age one has 71 percent less chance of dying in a car accident when secured in a car seat.
If every driver makes safe choices and follows these basic rules, hopefully everyone can have a safer time on the roads this season.