It’s the first day of summer! For New Yorkers, that means much-needed warm weather, vacation time, barbeques, and maybe the beach or a lazy day or two. While there’s much to celebrate about the summer, it’s not all fun and games; the summer season is actually one of the most dangerous times of year on U.S. roads and highways.
As a law firm that represents victims of motor vehicle accidents year-round, The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. is well aware that summer months can bring unfortunate and preventable mishaps for some folks – especially when others on the road fail to uphold their legal obligation to drive safely.
The Risks of Summer Driving
Numerous organizations and government entities have compiled data on the dangers of summer driving. Although winter and other seasons certainly pose risks for serious accidents and injuries, summer sees the most auto accidents and the most fatal crashes, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Knowing risks for motor vehicle accidents increase this time of year, our team wanted to explain exactly what causes crash rates to spike in the summer so local motorists can better manage potential risks. According to research, there are a few main culprits.
Warmer months mean more people go out more often. Inevitably, that means getting on the road. Whether it’s a family barbeque down the block or a multi-state road trip, Americans tend to log more miles during the summer than any other time of year, according to IIHS.
Unfortunately, increased traffic means greater risks for accidents, as well as increased risks for certain types of collisions – from motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents to crashes involving RVs, trailers, boats, and other towed cargo.
Though New York is a popular destination year-round, summer and the mild weather brings an influx of tourists to the city. Out-of-town motorists can significantly increase crash risks (and not just in New York).
As data shows, out-of-town drivers who aren’t familiar with local roads, traffic laws, or the local landscape are more likely to engage in risky and dangerous driving behaviors, including:
- Sudden turns or maneuvers
- Rubber-necking or sight-seeing behind the wheel
- Distracted driving (talking with passengers, texting, using GPS, etc.)
- Unexpected slowing or sudden stops
Given the number of tourists in the area, local motorists should exercise additional caution, follow at safe distances to account for sudden moves, and always be vigilant when behind the wheel.
Teen and Young Adult Drivers
There may never be a “good” time of year when it comes to teen and young adult driving, but summer is far and above the most dangerous given school breaks, and more time for getting out of the house.
As statistics show, teen drivers are responsible for roughly 10 deaths each day between the Memorial and Labor Day holidays – nearly 15% more than during other times of year. That time period has been dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days”, and there are a number of reasons why:
- More teen and young adults on the road
- Higher rates of drunk and impaired driving
- More young motorists driving at night
- Distraction (texting, talking with passengers, etc.)
- Increased risks for risky driving behaviors / decision-making
If you’re a parent to a young motorist, make sure you explain how risks increase during this time of year, ensure your child knows what safe driving looks like, and watch out yourself for teens and young adults with whom you share the road.
Drunk driving has been a scourge on public safety since the invention of the automobile. Because summer is synonymous with celebrations, there’s a statistical uptick in drunk and drugged driving during the season, especially during major holidays like the Fourth of July (which consistently ranks at the top of the list) and Labor Day.
Whether you’re on vacation, at a friend’s, or attending a major summer event, it’s important to drink responsibly or plan ahead for a sober ride. There are plenty of options available, and numerous reasons to avoid impaired driving – help keep yourself and those around you safe.
Drowsy Driving & Fatigue
The AAA Traffic Safety Foundation and a number of studies have shown the true risks of drowsy driving – it can be as dangerous as driving drunk. In fact, missing even a few hours of sleep in a single night can significantly hamper the cognitive skills needed to drive safely, and substantially increase a person’s risk of crashing.
During summer, it’s easy for people to be on the go, sleep deprived, and impaired by fatigue – especially as the sun starts shining and the weather gets hotter. Make sure you and your loved ones get sufficient rest, and if you ever start feeling tired, pull over to take a break, catch a quick nap, and grab a caffeinated drink. For those embarking on longer drives and road trips, take turns driving to ensure there’s always a well-rested person behind the wheel.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. wishes everyone a safe and happy summer! If you wish to discuss a potential case with one of our award-winning attorneys, contact us.