When people think of dangerous driving conditions, most often scenes of icy roads or stormy weather come to mind. However, the National Safety Council has reported that the 100 deadliest days for drivers in 2012 occurred from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. Nationally, there were about 10,000 deaths during that period in 2012; the fatalities were nearly evenly distributed among June, July and August.
But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pinpoints Saturday as the most dangerous day of the week, during any summer month.
More People on the Road
One state transportation expert speculates it may be a matter of numbers. More people are out on the roads in nicer weather, and this includes more teenagers. Storms discourage drivers, sunny weather doesn’t. In addition, warmer weather adds more bicyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians to the mix.
Experts also believe that people worry less about concentrating on the road in nicer weather. You might make a phone call while it’s nice that you wouldn’t when it’s pouring. You might even try to sneak in a text on a long stretch of road when it’s warm, that you wouldn’t try when it’s icy. All of those actions take peoples’ eyes off the road, distract their attention, and increase the odds of an accident.
In addition to more drivers on the road, the summer accident increase is due to:
- More risk-taking
- Driving faster
- Drinking and driving
- Vehicles not yielding the right of way
Crash data from one state showed the number one actual cause of summer accidents was attributed to cars following too closely. Of course, any of the above behaviors lessen a driver’s ability to react if they’re following too closely.
What Can Drivers Do?
The National Safety Council and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration make the following recommendations:
- Wear a seatbelt
- Designate a non-drinking driver
- Be well-rested when you drive
- Don’t distract yourself with your cell phone
- Check your tire air pressure, tread wear, and the condition of your spare
- Keep kids safe by making sure infant and booster seats are properly installed, and that children are in the right seat for their size and weight
Historically, July 4, Independence Day, has been the most dangerous driving day of the summer and the entire year, so driving with special care on the holiday is imperative.