Dallas, 09/13/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
There is no foolproof way to avoid a car accident, but ensuring that your tires are properly inflated, having a mechanic inspect your brakes, and paying attention to any automotive recalls on your vehicle can help prevent a failure that could lead to an accident.
The lawyers at 1800 Car Wreck Eberstein & Witherite, LLP are here to help answer any questions you may have and ensure that you get the medical care and compensation that you deserve.
But many drivers are unaware that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), summer months have the highest number of car accidents during the year. Before examining some of the reasons that crashes occur at a higher rate during the summer, and how drivers can take steps to avoid these accidents, it’s important to take a look at the statistics.
What Are The Numbers?
According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 32,675 drivers were killed in car accidents in 2014 at a cost of $242 billion. The primary factors that led to these fatalities included excessive speed, alcohol and drug impairment, reckless driving, and lack of seatbelt use.
But digging deeper into the numbers, certain figures stand out. For example, in 2014, 11,609 out of the 32,675 motor vehicle crash deaths occurred from June to September. That number represents 35% of the total number of crashes for that year, and the 3,037 deaths in August alone were the second most of the year, trailing only the month of October, in which there were 3,068 fatalities. And 50 % of all the car accident deaths in 2014 took place on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
But 2014 wasn’t an anomaly. In 2013, the IIHS reported that there were 11,883 fatal accidents in the summer months from June through September. That means 36% of the 32,719 motor vehicle fatalities that year occurred in the summer, and the trend was even more apparent in 2012, in which there were 12,149 accident deaths out of a total of 33,561. In that year, the 3,126 deaths in July was the highest number for any single month, followed by 3,073 in August, and 3,022 in June.
And the statistics for several years prior to 2012 show the same marked trend of higher crash deaths during the summer. The questions that need to be answered are why the numbers trend upward during those four months, and what can drivers do to avoid becoming part of those grim statistics?
Why Are Car and Truck Accident Fatalities Higher In the Summer?
The Young Driver Factor
Auto insurance agents love seeing a teenager or 20-something driver walk into their office because they know they will earn a bigger commission writing a policy with a higher premium. Accident statistics have shown for years that teenage drivers and drivers in their early 20s are more likely to be involved in a car or truck accident than older, more experienced drivers.
To account for this increased risk, auto insurers tag young drivers with higher premiums, and recent statistics support this practice. For example, the IIHs reported that in 2014, there were 687 people between the ages of 16 to 19 involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents and 1,042 people between the ages of 20-24 involved in those types of accidents. These were the highest numbers for all age categories in 2014.
One of the reasons that there are more fatal accidents during the summer is because there are more leisure drivers on the road. And when increased traffic is combined with younger, less experienced drivers, accidents happen. Younger drivers can lose focus on the road because of distractions such as loud music, chatting with passengers, and talking on mobile phones without using a hands-free device. This lack of attention can quickly lead to an accident, especially when good judgment can often mean the difference between a near-miss, and a fatal crash.
Road Rage Factor
In many parts of the country, summer means sweltering temperatures, which can increase tension and lead to driver anger and violence. Aggressive driving – also known as road rage – has become a persistent problem that is hard to solve. In a recent AAA Foundation survey, eight out of 10 drivers who responded to the survey believed that road rage presented a serious risk to their safety, and in fact, 50 percent of motor vehicle fatalities are a direct result of this problem. Aggressive driving is characterized by excessive speeding, racing, tailgating, gesturing at other drivers, or abusing them in a manner designed to initiate a physical confrontation.
And according to Jane Storrie, a neuropsychologist based in Ontario, Canada, hot temperatures can quickly lead to hot tempers. In an interview with CBC News, she said, “If you just look at it from the big picture, road rage is a result of stress. It’s definitely more associated with the hotter months when people are tired and cranky and uncomfortable, and there’s construction on the roads.”
In that same interview, John Vavrik, a research psychologist with the Insurance Corporation of B.C. said that people tend to have far less patience in the summer, especially when they feel that a driver on the road is impeding their leisure time. He said, “We tend to blame other people for getting in our way.”
The Tire Failure Factor
Although summer temperatures tend to increase the incidents of aggressive driving that can lead to accidents, there are also equipment failures that may explain the increase in car and truck accidents during the hottest months of the year. One of the most common types of equipment failures is a blown tire, which can cause a catastrophic car or truck accident. According to the NHTSA, tire blowouts in states such as Florida, are more likely to occur during the summer days when cars are operating at high speeds on scorching-hot roads that can wear down tire treads.
In an interview with Boston affiliate FOX25, Markus Hockenson, an automotive expert said, “If a tire is under-inflated, especially in summer with the heat buildup on the road and the friction between the road and the tire, it puts your tire in a more susceptible position to have a blowout or sidewall blowout.”
And according to a recent report by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 85 percent of car owners have no idea how to inflate their tires to the correct pound per square inch (psi), which means millions of vehicles are under-inflated during the summer, which can contribute to a tire failure.
Summer Accident Prevention Tips
It’s impossible for any driver to account for all the factors that can lead to a car or truck accident, but knowing that the summer months increase the likelihood of an accident is the first step in an action plan to help you avoid a crash. There are no guarantees when you are driving on the road with other unprepared drivers, but here are four things you can do to increase your chances of going accident-free.
- Wear Your Safety Belt — Despite the fact that wearing a seat belt is the law in every state, millions of drivers continue to operate their vehicles without securing themselves with a restraint. Although the NHTSA reported in 2014 that 87 percent of motorists were using seat belts, there were 21,022 motor vehicle deaths that same year, and 49 percent of the victims in those accidents were not wearing safety belts. NHTSA studies have revealed that consistent use of lap and shoulder restraints can lower the risk of a fatal car or truck accident injury by 45 percent. The main reason is that safety belts prevent drivers from being ejected out of their vehicles and sustaining fatal injuries.
- Limit Distractions — Numerous motor vehicle accident reports have shown that driver inattention is one of the primary factors that lead to crashes. Driver inattention is characterized as anything that draws the attention of a driver away from the road. It includes things such as applying makeup, talking on a mobile phone – including talking through a hands-free device – texting, chatting with passengers in the vehicle, gazing at landmarks, and bending down to pick up a dropped item. Limit your distractions as much as possible, and only speak on a hands-free mobile device if it’s absolutely necessary. Keeping your focus on the road can help you spot motorists who are driving in a dangerous manner.
- Avoid Speeding — Excessive speeding, especially in the summer when streets and highways are more congested, is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. Avoid speeding and obey all posted speed signs. You may be in a rush to get to the beach or some other place of leisure, but arriving 30 minutes later is a far better option than never reaching your destination because of a speed-related accident.
- Check Tire Pressure and Condition — Summer months are hell on your tires, so it’s vital that you have your tires inspected at least once every couple of months. The combination of skyrocketing temperatures, overloaded vehicles, and under-inflated or worn-out tires can quickly lead to a blowout. Your local mechanic can ensure that your tires are properly inflated and that the tread is in good condition.
- Stay Calm — It’s hard to stay calm and composed in the summer when you’re hot, stressed and someone just cut you off in traffic, but engaging in abusive behavior on the road can spiral out of control and lead to an accident. When someone is driving aggressively near you, slow down and let the driver pass. Avoid a confrontation by keeping your eyes on the road and not on the angry driver. Tensions build when drivers exchange harsh words, so refusing to engage in this type of argument can diffuse the situation.
Consult With a Lawyer
If you’re involved in an accident, you should consult with a lawyer to help you understand your rights and to ensure that you receive compensation for your pain and suffering. The lawyers at Eberstein & Witherite, LLP are here to help answer any questions you may have and ensure that you get the medical care and compensation that you deserve.
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