Summer is here, and more teenage drivers are on the roads because they are out of school. Are you prepared for the influx of inexperienced drivers? This is not the only factor that comes into play in the summer.
Drivers should know to be extra careful from June through early September. Listed below are ways you can stay safe this summer.
Watch Out for Inexperienced Drivers
The AAA refers to the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer because fatal car accidents among teenagers rise. Now is the time for parents and caregivers to communicate openly with their young drivers about staying safe. They can set up driving curfews and other rules, like always wearing a seat belt and limiting the number of other passengers in the car. The dangers of distracted driving should be discussed. Like driving under the influence, reckless driving, like speeding, should also be discouraged. Many parents make agreements with their children that if a ride is ever needed for any reason, they will provide it with no questions asked.
If you see an inexperienced motorist, get as far away from them as possible. It is easy to become frustrated, but this situation can only escalate. Instead of cutting someone off, take a deep breath and let them drive by you. If they are driving dangerously, maintain your distance and call 911 when it is safe to do so.
Avoid High Traffic Times
Vacationers can clog up the roads at busy times of the day, like Friday and Saturday morning and evening, but you never know when you will run into a major traffic backup in the summer. It is a good idea to avoid the major roads at these times, but this is not always possible. You could find yourself stuck on the highway in the summertime, trying to get home on a Friday night. Remember, the more vehicles there are on the road, the higher your chances of getting into a car accident. On top of that, vacationers can be distracted, checking their GPS, dealing with their pets and children, and eating. Drowsy driving is also common this time of year, and travelers may be fatigued while driving.
If you plan to take a road trip this summer, avoid driving on the major highways and other roads that experience heavy traffic from noon on Friday until the weekend, especially on holiday weekends. Plan the route on your GPS ahead of time, but expect that there will be some heavy traffic areas. Bring extra water and healthy snacks for everyone in the car, You should also bring along some books, magazines, and toys to keep children occupied while you are driving, especially if you are driving a long distance.
Prepare Your Car for Summer
Along with water and snacks, keep an emergency kit in the car, whether or not you are driving to a vacation destination. The emergency kit should include an extra phone charger, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, essential repair tools, and wiper fluid. Keep a first aid kit in the same area of the vehicle, plus a spare tire, emergency towels and blankets, and paper towels.
If your car has not had a tune-up for a while, now is a good time to do this. You will want to have your air conditioning checked since a broken one will not be safe when temperatures are high in the summer. Check the windshield wiper fluid and oil level too. Many drivers experience tire blowouts in the summer, so check your tires once a month to see if there is excessive tread wear or any cracks, bulges, or punctures. Also, never inflate tires to a pressure higher than what is listed on the tire, including spare tires. High summer temperatures also cause wear and tear on rubber belts and hoses. These can be checked out just like your tires and should be replaced if you see wear and tear. Use this time to ensure that the hose connections are tight, and remember to test out all of the car’s lights.
All children should be properly buckled in the back seat, even if they want to sit up front. Never leave a child unattended inside a vehicle, and never leave anyone or a pet inside your car with the windows shut.
Look Out for Other Road Users
Pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists come out to enjoy the nice weather in the summer. You should expect many of them to be distracted, so you need to be extra careful around them. Always check two times before making a turn, stop at crosswalks, and be extra vigilant in urban areas. Do not pass vehicles stopped at crosswalks since they are likely waiting for someone to pass in front.
Bicycles should be treated like slow-moving vehicles, and drivers should give them at least 3 feet of clearance when they are passing. Motorcyclists are more vulnerable since they are traveling at higher speeds. Not all bicyclists and motorcyclists practice safe riding. Since you cannot control their actions, make an effort to control your own by maintaining your distance and giving them the right-of-way. It is not easy to stay patient, but it could prevent accidents and save lives.
Another summer road hazard is animals wandering about. You may be seeing more deer coming out of the woods at certain times of day; dawn and dusk are the most common. It is a good idea to slow down and keep your headlights on. Drivers who swerve around and hit animals cause many crashes each year.
More Driving Tips to Keep in Mind
Here are a few more summer driving tips:
- Keep your lights on at all times, day and night.
- If you are strapping suitcases, bicycles, surfboards, coolers, or other items onto your vehicle, make sure that they do not exceed the weight limit and that they are tightly secured.
- Check the tire pressure, wiper fluid, and oil before leaving.
- Do not wear flip-flops or similar sandals when you are driving.
- Have polarized sunglasses in the car to combat sun glare.
- Try not to eat when driving, especially hot foods and drinks that could easily spill.
- Should you encounter a heavy downpour, smoke, or fog while traveling, turn on your lights, increase your following distance, and do not pass other drivers. If you are worried about the driving conditions, pull over somewhere safe until the road conditions improve, but never stop in the middle of the road.
- Always lock your car after exiting, and check to ensure you are not leaving anything inside.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Can Give You Legal Guidance After an Auto Accident This Summer
Summertime can be relaxing, and more drivers on the road are just one reason why accidents increase this time of year. For help with your case, reach out to one of our Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us at 302-888-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We are located in Wilmington, Delaware, and we serve clients across Dover, Newark, and Middletown.