Why Do Car Accidents Increase in the Summer?

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Living in a Mid-Atlantic state such as Maryland means that you get to experience all four seasons, but that necessitates having to adapt your driving skills to the changing road conditions. Yet even though things can be treacherous in the winter, roads can also be very risky in the summer. Therefore, if it is not the ice and snow causing the problems, what are the reasons why car accidents increase in June, July, and August?

The Roads Are Busier in the Summer

When schools close for the summer, young children, teenagers, and staff members have much more free time and spend much of it in automobiles. Parents are driving youngsters to the pool, newly licensed drivers are going places, and more adults are traveling to vacation destinations and running errands. It is basic math: The more vehicles on the roads, the higher the risk of getting into an accident. This includes more motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

In many areas, it is almost impossible to avoid heavy traffic on summer weekends unless you leave during the least busy times. It can result in less time at the destination, but many vacationers save their sanity by not driving after 12 noon on Fridays and Sundays. Planning out the route on a GPS before leaving will help, but traffic jams pop up unpredictably. Try to leave before or after the worst times, plan for delays, and make sure that you are prepared in case you end up spending hours in traffic.

More Teenage Drivers on the Road

In Maryland, high schools are usually closed for the season from June through August. Given the age and lack of experience of new drivers, there is a higher likelihood of collisions. It has been shown that drivers in this age group spend about 44 percent more time driving during the week in the summer than in the school year, going to work, running errands, or for leisure time. When you combine teen drivers, their propensity for distraction, and heavy summertime traffic, the results can be very hazardous.

According to AAA, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the “100 Deadliest Days” because there are approximately 10 auto accident-related fatalities involving teenagers each day during that period. Since these younger motorists are less experienced, their judgment is less mature. Therefore, it is so important for parents and caregivers to communicate openly and often with their teens about safe driving, and to set by example.  The importance of avoiding distractions such as cell phone use, eating, drinking, and interacting with other drivers, and pets, should be stressed, and often.

Road and Building Construction

Summer is the time for road and building construction in many areas because the warm weather makes it easier to work outdoors. As a result, drivers encounter lane closures, road closures, rerouting, and other activities that block or redirect their paths. This can be very frustrating, but keep in mind that the workers may be out in the open with little protection from cars and trucks. Follow the traffic signs, which may include a new merge, directions for a detour, or a requirement to slow down.

Construction sites on highways can be especially dangerous when drivers are not paying attention and fail to slow down in time. Many motorists also get confused and are not sure where to go; this causes distraction and naturally, a higher risk for accidents. It is always a good idea to slow down as soon as you see the signs, and to be on high alert until you pass through the area. If your GPS warns you of an approaching site, try to plan an alternate route that avoids the area if possible.

Does Hot Weather Affect My Car?

The answer to this question is yes, and no one wants to break down when the weather is unbearably hot outside. Not only will it delay your trip, but also it can be expensive and put you in a dangerous situation if you are stopped on a busy road. Hot temperatures cause vehicles to work harder to maintain safe engine temperatures.  To get the most out of your air conditioner, open the windows for about 30 seconds after you first turn it on and set it to the lowest temperature. Keep the filter clean, and have the system checked before the summer starts.

Hot weather can also wreak havoc on tires, particularly if they are older. Air inside worn tires can expand from the heat, which increases the chance of having a tire blowout. Check your tire pressure at least once a month, and before taking road trips. Also examine the treads for worn spots, bumps, nails, and other damage. Make sure that your spare tire is in good condition as well; even if you have AAA or other roadside assistance, it can take these companies long times to reach their customers when emergencies occur.

Car batteries can also suffer heat damage, so you will want to make sure that it is securely mounted inside the engine. This is something that mechanics can check for during tune-ups. If your battery is old, have someone look at it before you leave for vacation.

More Motorcycles, Bicycles, and Pedestrians on the Roads

Nice weather also brings out cyclists, bikers, and people who are out walking and running. Like most drivers, these individuals do not want to get into accidents, but there is the increased risk of that happening. They are more vulnerable because they are out in the open with little protection and should always be given the right of way even if they are not behaving safely. Intersections can be very challenging and are often the sites for these kinds of accidents.

Try to communicate with others who share the road with you. Bike riders should always have their front and rear lights on and use hand signals to indicate what direction they are turning. Drivers should maintain a distance of three feet when passing them, and if this is not possible, wait until you can do so. When at an intersection with pedestrians, be 100 percent sure that they will not be crossing into your path when the light is green for you. If you are cautious and allow the other person extra time, you can avoid getting hurt or injuring someone else.

More Impaired Drivers in the Summer

More people take vacations in the summertime, and this goes together with increased drug and alcohol use. Everyone knows about the risks of intoxicated driving, yet it is still a major problem in the United States. This is exceptionally dangerous for young, inexperienced drivers who either think they can drive when impaired or cannot maneuver successfully out of the way of a DUI driver. Parents and caregivers can help by offering to pick up their young drivers any time, day or night, without negative consequences if impairment is an issue. Offering to pay for a rideshare is another safe option.

If you suspect that someone is driving while intoxicated, call 911 and report them. Here are some of the sings of impaired driving:

  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Suddenly stopping for no reason or erratic, on-and-off braking
  • Driving too slow or speeding
  • Swerving and near-misses, almost crashing into another vehicle, a curb, or object
  • Tailgating
  • Driving on wrong side of road
  • Inconsistent signaling, such as putting on the right blinker but turning left
  • Headlights off at night

These drivers can be very unpredictable, so even if they are not showing any of these behaviors, they can do so suddenly and cause an accident. The National Safety Council advises having a three-second following distance at the minimum; also, it is important to keep your seat belt buckled at all times.


Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Clients Involved in an Accident

Summer is a perfect time for fun road trips. Unfortunately, the risk of having an accident increases during the warmer months. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, reach out to the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced legal team will investigate the cause of the accident and fight to secure the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.