Summertime presents a great opportunity for Woodland Hills and San Fernando Valley residents to hit the road and enjoy the sites of California and other states. Unfortunately, lots of other people have the same idea, and the more drivers there are on the road, the greater the likelihood of an accident.
California residents planning on hitting the road over the summer need to know safe driving strategies for avoiding accidents and what to do if they get into a crash, including calling an experienced attorney.
Analysis of crash statistics shows that more auto accidents occur in the summer than winter. According to Forbes, August is the most dangerous month of the year for auto accidents, and Saturday is the day accidents are most likely to occur. In August 2015, 3,319 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes.
The other summer months also had high fatality rates, with 3,010 people killed in June and 3,266 people killed in July. February had the fewest number of fatal accidents—2,153. Overall, more than 35,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2015.
Summer is a dangerous time to be on the road for several reasons. For starters, traffic increases drastically in the summer months as many people take their vacations. The increased traffic makes accidents more likely. Vacationers’ inexperience with local roads also makes crashes more likely.
During the summer, there are also more inexperienced teen drivers on the road. When school’s out, teens have more time to hit the road. Unfortunately, teen drivers are at greater risk of getting into an accident than any other demographic group. An increase in the number of teens on the road boosts the likelihood of accidents.
Summer weather conditions can also contribute to an increased likelihood of crashes. When the weather’s hot, the air inside tires can expand, which can cause well-worn tires to blow out. Blowouts can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash.
Preventing Summer Crashes
Many summer motor vehicle crashes are avoidable if drivers observe safe driving practices. If you plan to go on a road trip this summer, follow these tips to decrease your likelihood of getting into a crash:
- Plan your route carefully – Unfamiliarity with local roads and traffic conditions can increase the likelihood that you make a mistake that results in a crash. Modern technology can give you detailed information about your road trip, including directions about turns, exit ramps, toll booths, and speed zones. When preparing for your summer road trip, get a detailed map of your route and printed directions. Study them carefully.
- Wear your seat belt – This is good advice for all seasons, but we’ll repeat it here. Seat belts save lives. More than half of people killed in motor vehicle crashes are unrestrained. If you’re not wearing a seat belt, you are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle in a crash than someone who is properly restrained. Buckle up on every trip you take, regardless of the distance, regardless of the season.
- Stay alert – If you’re going to be taking a long trip, make sure you stay alert when you drive. Take time to get out of the vehicle and stretch and also get something to eat and drink. If you begin to feel drowsy on the road, pull over or switch drivers.
- Avoid distracted driving – When driving, refrain from fiddling with your phone or accepting texts or emails. About 10 percent of all fatal crashes and 17 percent of all injury-causing crashes are related to distracted driving. Keep your attention on the road.
- Observe speed limits – Speed is a major contributing factor to many motor vehicle accidents. When taking a road trip, resist the temptation to treat the interstate like a race track. Follow posted speed limits and be sure to notice changes in speed limits that occur when you get off major highways and enter urban areas or small towns.
- Stay aware of weather conditions – Sudden summer storms can make road conditions hazardous, as rain can make roads slick and heavy winds can also contribute to crashes. Checking the weather before hitting the road and monitoring weather by listening to the local radio can help you avoid driving in dangerous weather conditions by taking an alternate route or stopping when conditions are too rough to drive.
- Watch out for children – During the summer many children go outdoors to play and, sometimes, their play may result in them stepping out onto the street. When traveling in urban areas or residential neighborhoods, watch for children who are nearby and slow down to avoid an accident.
- Watch out for motorcycles and bicycles – During the summer months, you’re likely to see more motorcycles and bicycles on the road. The law requires that motorists share the road with motorcycle and bicycle riders, so be aware of any riding near your vehicle and extend them courtesy. Avoid following them too closely or forcing them off the road. Be especially vigilant at night, as it may be tougher to see them.
More than 720 bicycle riders were killed in motor vehicle accidents in 2014, so exercise caution and courtesy on the road to avoid tragedy.
- Exercise extreme caution in construction zones – Road and bridge departments and state highway authorities do a lot of road work in the summer. Road work sites are, unfortunately, the site of many crashes. According to Esurance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that road construction zones averaged 773 vehicle-related fatalities per year between 2005 and 2014.
When approaching a road construction zone, slow down. Excessive speed can rob you of time to react to hazards such as lane changes, sharp curves, or personnel or equipment on the highway. In many states, motorists who speed through construction zones can face increased penalties or even criminal charges. Be sure to observe all posted signs and carefully follow instructions from road crews or public safety officials on site.
- Avoid impaired driving – This should go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway. Don’t drink and drive. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of serious motor vehicle crashes. Even if you don’t get in a wreck, drinking and driving put you at risk of facing some very serious consequences. If you’re pulled over while you’re intoxicated, you can face jail time, job loss, heavy fines, and the loss of your driving privileges.
If you do get into an auto accident during your summer road trip, be calm and take the steps necessary to preserve the safety of yourself and other occupants of your vehicle. Also, protect your rights should the matter require litigation. Get vehicle, insurance, and contact information for all parties in the crash. Do not admit fault. Report the accident to authorities. Also, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible for advice on your next steps.
When fighting the big insurance companies in a personal injury suit, having a female attorney on your side may provide a critical advantage. An experienced female attorney can often present a more sympathetic face to a judge or jury, getting them to better empathize with accident victims. Female attorneys also benefit from great social and negotiation skills, making them ideal advocates for crafting a settlement.
Why Choose a Female Attorney?
Kraft, Miles & Miller, LLP is a Los Angeles area law firm staffed primarily by female attorneys. Kraft, Miles & Miller, LLP’s seasoned attorneys can help accident victims make a compelling argument for the compensation they deserve. If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact these free consultation personal injury lawyers today.
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