Summer: The Most Dangerous Time of Year
to Be on the Road
Summertime brings warm weather, sunshine, no school and the opportunity to take a road trip or two, which means the chance to spend even more time with friends and family. Summer road trips have long been an American pastime for vacationers – an easy way to travel to national parks, historical sites, visit new cities (or old ones) and experience some good old-fashioned Americana along the way.
One might assume that better weather conditions during the summer make the roads safer, but it’s actually the opposite. Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Association reveal that the summer months – Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend – are the most dangerous time of year to be on the road.
There are a number of factors that contribute to summer being the most dangerous time to be on the road.
1. Young Drivers
School’s out and the influx of young drivers on roadways is one of the reasons why summertime driving is more dangerous than when school is in session.
Teen drivers are among the most inexperienced on the road and they’re also more likely to take risks, like speeding or using a smartphone while driving. One out of every ten teen driving fatalities is caused by distracted driving. Education and leading by example are the best methods to encourage your teens to drive safely. Mercury Insurance offers road trip safety tips to help prepare both parents and young drivers before teens hit the road.
More and more Americans are choosing to take domestic vacations. The New York Times cites that close to 14 million vacations were taken domestically in 2017, with families listing flexibility as one of the top reasons for choosing an all-American road trip. Yes, road trips can be convenient, however, with many Americans choosing to pack up the car and hit the open road, things can get quite congested. More cars on the road traveling more miles translates to a greater chance of getting into a collision, so carefully consider when you schedule your travel plans and where the road will take you.
Summertime is also construction time in many cold weather states. Road construction can cause delays as well as fender-benders, posing added risks for summertime drivers with bottlenecked traffic, reduced speed limits, lane and off-ramp closures and workers present on roadways.
GPS technology warns drivers of slow-downs and construction zones along their route. Be sure to pay attention while driving through construction zones, obey the posted speed limit and watch out for workers.
4. Vehicle Maintenance
Roadside breakdowns are not uncommon during summer travel. They can create dangerous situations when the breakdown occurs in an inconvenient spot like around a curve, on an exit-ramp or in the middle of the roadway, creating a hazard for you and fellow…