Summertime brings warmer weather and more free time with friends and family for a few months out of the year. It's a time to finally take that vacation and get to the ballfield or hiking trail you've been meaning to visit.
With the extra free time and more leisure activities comes increased traffic, and therefore traffic accidents. The monthly rate of traffic accidents peaks in July and August, with July 4 as one of the most dangerous days of the year to be on the road.
Added roadway obstacles
What exactly causes more car accidents in the summer months? There are a few reasons, but mostly it's the overall increase in roadway congestion. Summer brings a number of added obstacles to the road, including:
- Families driving to and from vacations
- Young drivers out of school for the summer
- Roadway construction
- Increased traffic around summer holidays
Road congestion increase with vacationers and younger drivers out in higher numbers. Distracted driving becomes an added factor with drivers in areas they're unfamiliar with attempting to navigate through traffic. California drivers know road congestion, but visitors may not always be prepared to deal with the increased traffic.
Many in the U.S. define the beginning of summer as Memorial Day and the end of summer as Labor Day. These two holidays, as well as Independence Day in the middle, are among the deadliest days on the road for the entire year.
Other holidays bring a similar increase in accidents, with December 23 and 24 closely following July 4 as the top three most dangerous driving days in the year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For areas with cold winter months, construction projects dramatically increase with the onset of warmer weather. The added obstacles and roadway detours further complicate the high traffic roadways.
Avoiding these obstacles
There's unfortunately no way to guarantee you'll avoid an accident, but there is plenty you can do to lower your risks in the summer months.
If you're taking a vacation, designate someone as the navigator and let the driver focus on the task at hand. Talk to younger drivers about avoiding distractions while they're on the road. Prepare yourself for delays and detours from added construction.
Traffic accidents don't have to increase in summer months. Every driver can remain mindful of the added obstacles with summer traffic and work to mitigate the dangers.