Make Safety Priority for Summer Trips
Traffic statistics show, however, that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most dangerous time to be on the roads nationwide.
August totaled the most fatal car accidents in 2013 with 3,136, while July and September had more than 2,900 each, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In Oklahoma, August was the second most deadly month for driving with 6,240 fatalities in 2013, behind October with 6,382, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported. May saw 6,029 fatal crashes that year.
Here are a few of the causes of those summertime traffic accidents.
Look Out for Teens
Young drivers are much more likely to be on the road when school is out for the summer. Car accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for teenagers as they learn to drive, and that youthful inexperience affects those around them as well.
A recent report by the AAA Foundation for Safety found injury and fatal crashes involving teen drivers decreased dramatically during the last 20 years. It determined two thirds of the people injured or killed in crashes involving young motorists were people other than the teen driver.
More motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians are out, as well, during the summer, creating more situations in which people must share the roadways.
Vacationers Cause More Summer Travel
As soon as Memorial Day arrives and kids get out of school, families take vacations.
This can create situations in which motorists are unfamiliar with the roadways, causing them to make sudden and unpredictable lane changes. Long drives also lead to fatigue and drowsy driving.
Too often, people go on long drives without taking care of their vehicles. That often means they haven’t checked the oil or coolant level, which can lead to locked-up or overheated engines.
AAA also reports high heat can affect tires. It encourages motorists to:
- Check tires monthly for bad wear.
- Set tires to proper specifications to avoid safety hazards (pounds per square inch of air pressure is located on the vehicle’s tire information label).
- Rotate tires regularly, every 5,000 miles, following rotation patterns in the owner’s manual.
Beware of Road Work
Paving season falls during the summer, and even though speed limits are lower when workers are present, highway work zones can be some of the most dangerous sections of the roadway. They often have lane closures with fixed barriers or require lane shifts. Rear end collisions are most common in work zones followed by sideswipe collisions. Driving too fast for road conditions is a contributing factor in many work zone accidents.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports an average of 669 deaths from 2007 through 2012 in construction and maintenance zones. Fatalities in these areas reached a high in 2003 with 1,095 before dropping to 609 in 2012.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages people to follow these tips for safe summer travel:
- Always buckle up. Wearing a seat belt is considered the best way to protect yourself if you’re involved in a crash.
- Avoid driving after drinking. Alcohol-related fatal crashes increase during holidays, especially around the Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend.
- Drive at Safe Speed for Road Conditions. Driving at the posted speed limit may be unsafe in certain conditions. Slow down in work zones and in adverse weather.
- Check your tires. The NHTSA offers a new website for tire safety, pointing out nearly 11,000 tire-related crash take place each year killing almost 200 people.
- Focus on child safety. Be certain child and booster seats are installed correctly and children are sitting in them properly. Never leave children and pets in hot vehicles even briefly.
Oklahoma has plenty of attractions for residents to visit this summer. But before leaving home, make safety your No. 1 priority. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by another driver in Oklahoma, contact an experienced Oklahoma City car accident attorney for a no-obligation review of your legal options.
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