According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), summertime is the most dangerous time to be on the road, at least in terms of traffic fatalities. While you might think that the hazards of winter travel would outweigh the moderate conditions of summertime, statistics prove otherwise.
The IIHS reports that some 35,000 traffic fatalities occur in the U.S. every year, and of that number, only about 6% occur during snowy February. However, by the time summer months of June and July arrive, that figure rises toward 9% each month, before reaching a peak in August of slightly over 10%.
After August, traffic fatality statistics begin to decline again as cooler weather approaches. These statistics are counter-intuitive to say the least, because most people would probably predict that winter driving is the most hazardous and would therefore lead to the most fatalities. So, what is it about summer driving that makes it so dangerous?
More drivers on the road
There’s no question there are more people on the roadways during the summer months than at any other time of the year. This fact alone increases the likelihood of some kind of accident occurring. When roadways become congested, driving conditions become more complicated, and there are greater instances of road rage which can lead to problems. Vacationing drivers may also be completely unfamiliar with the area they’re driving through, and that can trigger more erratic and unpredictable moves on the road. Vacationers might also drive much slower than other traffic because they’re unfamiliar with the area, often looking for directions or turnoffs thought to be nearby.
According to AAA, there are also more tire blowouts in the summertime than at any other time of year. Since the hot weather causes an expansion of the air inside your tires, it can result in much faster wear on the tread of your tires, and it can also cause the tire to blowout. Before you start out on any extended driving trip, make sure to check your tire pressure as well as the level of tread on your tires to be sure they’re within tolerance.
More teenagers on the road
Many more teenage drivers are also on the road during summer months due to summer vacation. Having less experienced drivers on the road also contributes to an increased number of accidents. Statistics demonstrate that teenagers are by far the likeliest group to be involved in any kind of traffic accident relative to any other age group.
As most experienced drivers are well aware, summer is the time for roadway construction to be going full tilt. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the work zones created during maintenance and construction activities on the roadways averaged approximately 775 fatalities for the ten-year period between 2005 and 2014. Workers are simply highly exposed in these work zones, so there’s an increased likelihood of driving accidents in these areas during the summertime.
Motorcycles and bicycles on the road
Many more bicycles and motorcycles are on the road during summer, simply because the weather is much more favorable for it. This means drivers have to share the road with these vulnerable motorcyclists and bicyclists. Each year, there are just under 1,000 fatal traffic accidents involving operators of motorcycles or bicycles and motor vehicles. That makes it important for auto drivers to be aware of these individuals and to share the roadways with them in a safe manner.
Are you taking a driving vacation this summer?
If you and your family are considering any kind of driving vacation this summer, be sure to stay safe on Knoxville, TN highways and all the roadways in the U.S. Should you become involved in any kind of auto accident in which injuries are sustained, the first thing you should do is contact a personal injury attorney. When you are represented by a skilled attorney, you’ll have your best chance of being fairly compensated for any injuries that you sustain in an accident.