Highway fatalities went down in 2017 based on the data released in 2018 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The organization was happy to see the trend continue after it went up the last two consecutive years.
Despite the decline of vehicular fatality rates, accidents still do happen. As a driver, it pays to educate yourself on how to stay safe while on the road, especially with summer approaching.
Car Accidents Are More Frequent during Summer
Summer, with its warm weather and clear skies, is a great time to go on a road trip with family or friends to visit national parks and historical sites, or go camping. You might think that the dry weather conditions make for safe roads. The truth, however, is that summer is the most dangerous time of the year to drive.
In particular, a study suggests that your risk of dying in a traffic accident increases by four times on Memorial Day, a major summer holiday. The study used statistics from the NHTSA to compare traffic fatalities over all the major holidays. Labor Day and the Fourth of July also have the highest average of car crash fatalities every year.
Another report shows that Saturday takes the most number of lives due to road accidents. Meanwhile, Tuesdays have the least number or car accident related fatalities. The report also mentions that driving during afternoon rush hour is more dangerous compared to the morning commute.
Driving Hazards to Watch Out For
Road accidents occur due to countless reasons, from equipment failure to driver behavior. Be aware of the driving hazards this summer to reduce your risk for an accident.
- Glare – summer provides excessive sunlight, which can obstruct your vision while you’re driving. Consider wearing sunglasses while driving to help you see clearly.
- Heat stress – expect to feel sizzling temperatures in Arizona this summer. Make sure to keep the inside of your car cool when you’re driving. Check on your auto’s glass before hitting the Phoenix road, as well. Extreme temperatures can compromise your windshield, especially when it already has cracks.
- Work zones – road constructions are common in summer, and they can cause fatal accidents. Makes sure to stay alert while driving and keep to the posted speed limit.
- Equipment failure – car accidents are sometimes due to mechanical failures, such as loss of brakes, steering wheel failures, and tire blowouts.
- Driving under the influence – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 29 people die daily in vehicle accidents that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Make sure to sober up before driving if you’re coming from a party and drinking.
Car-related issues affect road safety. Proper car maintenance keeps your vehicle in good condition and prevents it from breaking down, malfunctioning, and having a disastrous system failure.
Preparing Your Vehicle for Summer Road Trips
It’s frustrating when your car suddenly breaks down in the middle of your summer destination drive. Don’t spoil your holiday; make sure your car is ready for long drives this summer.
Your preparation checklist should include:
- Change oil and filter
- Change air filter
- Place your tire iron and jack in the car
- Have a spare tire
- Pack a fire extinguisher
- Clean your car both interior and exterior
- Fill your tank
Responsible driving is essential in any season as accidents can happen anytime. Educating yourself on road hazards and proper car maintenance significantly makes road trips more fun and enjoyable, particularly in the season with high accident rates.