Although many people believe summer presents more favorable driving conditions compared to the cold winter months, the dangers of this season are more deceptive than slick and icy roads.
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says the highest number of traffic deaths in the United States occur between July and September. The Fourth of July is considered the deadliest holiday of the year, while August has the second highest number of fatal car accidents annually.
The following are the most common reasons why driving in the summertime can be dangerous:
- Increase of young drivers on the road – More teenagers and young adults will occupy the roadways since school is out of session for the next few months. Unfortunately, young drivers lack experience and are more reckless. They are also easily distracted, which is why texting while driving is the leading cause of death among teenagers.
- More travelers – The summer is the time for vacation, which is why millions of Americans will embark on long road trips throughout the country. However, vacationing drivers add to road congestion, creating unfavorable driving conditions. Additionally, drivers who are unfamiliar with an area while following a navigation system tend to drive unpredictably and erratically.
- More pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists – Now that the weather is sunny and the outdoor temperature is warmer, many people will take advantage of the outdoors by either riding their motorcycle or bicycle, or simply walking. However, these individuals are vulnerable on the road because they do not possess the same protection afforded to motorists in vehicles, which is why a crash involving one of these parties is often associated with catastrophic injuries or fatalities. Bikers and cyclists can be difficult to see, especially in blind spots.
- Construction – The warmer weather is also the reason why most construction happens during the summer. But constructions zones create traffic, delays, roadblocks, and detours, creating unfavorable driving conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says work zones average over 750 driving fatalities annually.
- Car malfunctions – The sun can do a number on your vehicle. From overheated engines to tire blowouts, you need to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape during the hot summer months to avoid experiencing a malfunction—and then potentially an accident.