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How to Combat the Dangers of Summer Driving

How to Combat the Dangers of Summer Driving

Nationwide Trends Show Summer is Worst for Motorists

Nationwide motor vehicle accident trends continue to show that crashes begin increasing throughout the spring before hitting their peak around back to school season in August. For many families, this time of year is perfect for road trip planning and teaching teens how to drive, which can, unfortunately, put more vehicles on the road and increase accident probability.

Although it is safe to assume that the primary reason for accidents increasing in the summer relies solely on the number of cars on the road, there are many different factors to consider. To get a better understanding of the dangers, it’s important to know what the trends look like.

Summer Accident Trends

The Bay Area recorded 8,570 injury and fatal crashes during the summer of 2019. Among these, more than 11,600 injuries were sustained by the people involved and nearly 500 fatalities occurred. However, the month-by-month breakdown of these statistics shows an interesting trend.

Months ranked by total accidents:

  • August
  • June
  • July

Months ranked by fatalities:

  • July
  • June
  • August

Months ranked by injuries:

  • August
  • June
  • July

These rankings are also consistent with motorcycle crash trends in the Bay Area, although nationwide statistics show a different skew.

Motorcycles and Bicycles

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months record the highest number of fatal motorcycle crashes annually and average about the same number of collisions.

This trend tends to continue for bicyclists, but instead of having the summer months evenly distributed in terms of accident probability, there is a distinct ranking:

  • July
  • June
  • August

There could be many reasons for this, one of which may be that July tends to be the hottest month of the year, so more bicyclists may be affected by the temperature when riding. Studies have shown that hotter temperatures may lead to more road rage and reckless driving behaviors, in addition to other dangerous motorist actions.

The Dangers of Summer Driving and What You Can Do

Many factors may play into summer being one of the most dangerous times for motorists - aside from the obvious that more cars, bicycles, and motorcycles are on the road. Here are a few things to consider.

Hot Weather Creates Hotter Tempers

An article from the Association for Psychological Science assessed different studies analyzing the relationship between increased temperatures and agitation/aggressive behavior. When these studies applied specifically to driver behavior, United States researchers found a direct linear relationship between hotter temperatures and actions like horn honking. Another study conducted in Spain also reported that crash risk was nearly 8% higher during heat waves.

One of the easiest ways to avoid this hazard is to try your best and keep cool when on the road. Whether that is keeping a cold drink in your vehicle or cranking the A/C to its highest setting, lowering your temperature may save you from reckless driving behavior.

Construction Projects Begin in Summer

It is not uncommon for construction accidents to rise during the summer. With rainy springs and frigid winters affecting one's ability to do construction tasks, many project managers opt to begin work during the summer months, where weather changes are less extreme.

Avoiding construction accidents can be difficult, as sometimes they are caused by situations entirely out of your control. When driving in a work zone, it is best to remain alert and limit distractions. Remember, using a cellphone in a highway construction zone is illegal and could result in fines, if not lead to an injury-causing accident.

Younger Drivers

School's out for summer, giving way to thousands of teens across the country on the roads. IIHS reports that fatal crashes involving teenagers are at the highest in May and June, directly correlating with the end of the school year.

Statistically, teen drivers are on the roads less than other age demographics, despite having a significantly higher crash rate. It's estimated that 16 to 19 year-olds are three times as likely than drivers 20 and older to be involved in a fatal collision. With less experience and a greater likelihood of being distracted, it is largely unsurprising that this is the case.

Helping your teen become a better driver requires a lot of patience and time spent behind the wheel. As a parent, one of the best things you can do to promote safe driving is to practice it when your kids are in the car. This means hang up, buckle up, and obey traffic rules and signs.

Summer Accident? We Can Help.

Summers are meant to be enjoyed, not spent recovering from a serious car crash. However, even the safest drivers on the road can be involved in a collision resulting in injury. When this occurs, it's best to have a skilled car accident attorney on your side to help obtain compensation for your case.

The team at Delfino Green & Green is eager to help get you back on your feet—call (415) 466-8544 to schedule your free consultation today.

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