Weather conditions are a major factor in car accidents. Drivers are familiar with risks from wintery conditions, such as blizzards and black ice. Yet, the season with the greatest number of roadway crashes is not winter. Summer is the time of year when the most car crashes occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies crash data to detect trends and set national priorities. It turns out that 29 percent more people die from car crashes in summer compared to winter.
There appears to be a variety of reasons for more crashes in the summer months. The following list contains common causes of summer car accidents.
In the summer, there are more young and inexperienced drivers on the roads because school it out. Teenagers are the age group most involved in summer car crashes. According to the NHTSA, on average, 260 teenagers die in car accidents each summer.
In summer, there are more travelers on the roadways, and traffic congestion leads to more crashes. The nice summer weather also brings out motorcyclists and bicyclists, and it can be harder for other drivers to see them. Both drivers and bike riders need to be familiar with how to share the road.
Bicyclists have to follow traffic rules, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs. They also need to use proper hand signals when making turns, but drivers cannot always count on bike riders to know and use the hand signals. Drivers need to pay attention when opening car doors and making right turns as it is easy to miss seeing bicyclists at these times. Drivers also need to pay attention to pedestrians, particularly at crosswalks and all intersections.
Another issue regarding summer driving is the fact that planned transportation construction projects are mostly done during the milder weather, which is typically spring and summer. There are also all those winter weather potholes that need to be repaired.
Transportation agencies work hard to ensure work zones are properly set up, marked, and posted with adequate warning signs. However, work zones are still more difficult to navigate than open roads without construction.
Rain and floods can be quite common in some areas during the summer. During the first few minutes after rain starts, oil from cars on the road and a light misting of rain creates a particularly slippery surface. Hydroplaning is most likely to occur at this time.
Motorists should drive further behind other cars when it is raining to enable more time to respond to hydroplaning. It is advised that a driver turns into a spin when hydroplaning because it allows the tread to grip and enables the motorist to regain control. Motorists should make sure that wiper blades are functioning and that there is windshield washer fluid in the reservoir.
Tourism is high during the summer months, especially near vacation destinations, such as beaches, lakes, and campsites. Many tourists are visiting a place for the first time. Their lack of familiarity with the area can cause them to drive while distracted if looking at a navigation device or printout of directions. It can also tend to make them more tentative and less able to negotiate unfamiliar roads, sudden turns, or turnoffs with poor or missing signage. Each of these can make a motorist more prone to driving mistakes.
Summer is also a time when many people take vacations and celebrate at barbeques where alcohol is often served. Drinking and driving increases during summer months and contributes to an increase in the rate of crashes.
The NHTSA has found that the number of alcohol-impaired drivers increases significantly. Summer crashes involving alcohol impaired drivers is almost double the number of fatal car crashes that occur in all of the other months combined.
Being outside in hot weather can also be a factor in the increased number of crashes in summer. The heat can cause dehydration and tiredness. This can reduce attention span, negatively impact judgement, and cause a slower reaction time. All of these can contribute to the increased risk of being involved in a crash. Be sure to drink enough water if spending time out in the sun, and do not drive if one is feeling tired or unwell.
Vehicles are more susceptible to certain malfunctions during the summer months. Careful attention to these items can reduce the risk of equipment failure. Hot weather and worn tires are not a good combination. Air inside worn tires can expand because of the heat; this increases the risk of a tire blowout. Hitting unrepaired winter potholes can also cause blowouts. When a blowout happens, losing control of steering is common, and a collision is much more likely to occur.
Another concern regarding vehicle safety is the risk of an overheated engine. To avoid this problem, check engine coolant, hoses, and belts regularly. While cars will not automatically turn off or impede driving controls, an overheated car can ruin an engine.
If the temperature gauge warns that a vehicle is overheating, it is important to address the issue right away. Pull over where safe to do so, and call for assistance. Overheated vehicles require at least about 15 minutes to cool down to a safer temperature. Do not continue to drive an overheated vehicle without fixing the cause.
States vary in how they determine liability for car accidents. In Delaware, contributory negligence applies, and a person can file a claim against another driver or person even if they are partially responsible for the accident. The level of responsibility will impact the amount of damages that may be recovered. For this reason, a car accident victim should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
There are many dangers in the summer, and drivers should be extra careful. If you were recently in a collision, a Millsboro car accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form. We are located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.