Summer is full of opportunity, fun times, and the season of “The Family Road Trip”. While many families travel to their summer getaway by plane, there are several who still pack up the car and drive coast-to-coast, a popular mode of summer transportation for decades.
Summer holidays like Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, and even Labor Day result in hundreds of injuries and deaths related to vehicle accidents. The most recent data released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), reveals that July 4th had an average of 127 fatal crashes each year between 2008 and 2012.
Summer Time is a Risky Time
Why do summer holidays make our roads risky? You may or may not be surprised by the answers:
- Increased Number of Cars on the Road: During summer holidays, people schedule road trips and travel to festivals, backyard BBQs, and other activities like fireworks watching, which can increase the number of drivers on the road at any time.
- More Drinking and Driving: When the weather is perfect and you have grad parties, music festivals, and outdoor parties to attend, it might be more tempting to consume more alcohol than usual, which increases the likelihood of being involved in an alcohol-related driving incident. Despite all the efforts to crack down on drunk driving, drivers continue to think they are “okay to drive” when they aren’t.
- Distractions: Distracted driving is a year long issue, but can be particularly problematic during the summer months. Whether you are cranking up your favorite tune on the radio, have a car full of whiny and hot children, or are calling your friend to say that you will be late, your distractions should always be little to none. When you are a distracted driver, you lose your focus and fail to see “hard-to-see” motorists like motorcyclists or even construction zones.
Whether you are packing up for a week long road trip or taking the family to a co-worker’s BBQ, it’s important to be prepared for any risky road scenario that could result in an accident.
- Designate a Driver: If you are planning on drinking, make sure you designate a sober driver. Not only is it irresponsible to drive after a few drinks, but DWI Patrol is always heavier during summer holidays.
- Buckle Up: For many drivers, buckling up seems like a no-brainer, but people continue to die in accidents related to lack of seatbelt use. Remember, as your kids are growing it’s vital to have the right safety seat for their size and age. Before you hit the road, make sure their safety seats are up-to-date.
- Safety Checklist: When traveling during the summer, a lot of drivers don’t even think about emergency kits for their cars (typically it’s a “winter” must have), but having an inventory of water, jumper cables, a first aid kit, and other provisions can keep you safer while on the road. Additionally, pay attention to weather and have a plan if it gets too dangerous to drive (like during a tornado or thunderstorm).
Make this summer a season to remember, drive safely and take extra precaution during holiday weekends.