June is National Safety Month, and the National Safety Council, which leads the month-long observance, has made driving and roadway safety one of its most important topics. That’s because spring and summer months historically see an increase in accidents, injuries, and deaths on public roadways – and because many of those wrecks and injuries are preventable.
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Keen & Littky-Rubin, our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys have decades of collective experience representing seriously injured victims and families who have been harmed in all types of preventable accidents, from serious car accidents to pedestrian, bicycle, and motorcycle crashes. Having seen the types of wrecks that occur during summer, we know the unique types of risks these coming months bring to anyone on the road, and want our clients and local residents to stay safe. Below, we’ve provided some important information about summer roadway risks to help keep yourself, your loved ones, and those around you safe.
- Young & Inexperienced Drivers – Summer break from school means that younger and inexperienced drivers have more time on their hands to hit the road. Unfortunately, that also means increased risks for not only those novice drivers and their passengers, but also others around them. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens and young adults face the greatest risks of being involved in auto accidents, often due to their inexperience behind the wheel and an increased likelihood for making dangerous or risky decisions. If you have a young motorist in your household, make sure they have command of safe driving skills before they’re allowed to freely travel the road this summer. That includes having conversations about the importance of avoiding distracted driving and cell phone use (which is highest among younger drivers), never driving after drinking alcohol, obeying the rules of the road, and abiding by any terms of a provisional or novice license (such as not having passengers in their vehicles).
- Traffic Congestion – Americans hit the road in great numbers during the summer months, whether to attend various celebrations or events, travel, or simply enjoy the open road and nice weather. With increased traffic, however, comes increased risks of auto accidents. Be aware that you may find yourself in congested traffic when driving during the summer, and be sure to adjust your driving habits accordingly. This can mean driving at safe speeds and avoiding distractions so as to be prepared for sudden slow-downs or the need to stop in heavy traffic. You should also be careful of reckless and impatient drivers who may make sudden and dangerous maneuvers, as well as out-of-town drivers or tourists unfamiliar with local roads and laws.
- Impaired Motorists – Summer is a time for more celebrations, holidays, and events that involve alcohol, which naturally means there are increases in DUI accidents. If you have plans to enjoy the summer with an alcoholic beverage, be sure to commit yourself to never driving drunk or impaired. Plan for a sober ride, take a cab or Uber / Lyft, or simply stay the night at the location where you’ll be drinking. Avoiding drunk driving can keep yourself and everyone on the road safe, and ensure you won’t face serious consequences if you are stopped and arrested. Even if you don’t drink or never drink and drive, be aware that there may be drunk drivers on the road, especially during holidays and weekends like the Fourth of July.
- Tire Blowouts / Auto Part Malfunction – Warmer weather can pose some unique risks for motorists as well, including risks of tire blowouts and auto part malfunction. As recommended by AAA, anyone with plans to drive during the summer, especially longer road trips, should have their vehicles thoroughly inspected and tires checked prior to traveling. You should also check tires and other essential vehicle components during long trips or heat waves to ensure they’re in proper working order, and that potential defects don’t create risks that can lead to wrecks.
- Construction – Many businesses and developers take advantage of summer weather with new construction. Whether on the road itself or nearby, make sure you are always aware of construction zones, as the law requires you to slow down in these areas so as to avoid collisions with other motorists or any debris that may be nearby.
- Pedestrians, Bicyclists, & Motorcyclists – Summer is a great time to get outdoors, which means more pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcycles will likely be on the roadways in your local area. Being aware of increased foot and bicycle traffic, as well as motorcyclists, is critical to avoiding collisions that can result in severe and catastrophic injuries. Share the road when you see these vulnerable individuals, be aware of your surroundings at all times and prior to making any turns or sudden maneuvers, and always avoid distractions so you’re prepared to stop and avoid a crash when necessary. As a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcycle rider, you can also take steps to protect yourself, including obeying traffic laws, ensuring you can be seen and see others, and exercising extra caution at night.
- Fatigue – Whether it’s the heat or a long day of traveling, fun, and activities, it can be easy to become tired and fatigued during summer days. Because studies have shown that driving drowsy and tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, avoiding fatigue and taking steps to address tiredness when it happens is critical to staying safe on the road. Drink plenty of water if you’re out in the sun during the day and need to drive after, make sure to get adequate sleep prior to driving or traveling, have plans to switch off with more rested drivers when possible, or simply take a break and rest if you feel fatigue will compromise your ability to drive safely.
Even when the most safety conscious drivers are aware of these risks and take steps to keep themselves safe, preventable accidents and serious injuries can still result when others are negligent. Fortunately, there are laws in place that allow victims of negligence – whether that stems from a negligent driver, negligent property owner, or negligent product manufacturer – to pursue legal action and personal injury cases that can allow them to secure the justice and financial compensation they deserve.Our accident attorneys at Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather, Keen & Littky-Rubin are readily available to help anyone who suffers serious injuries in preventable accidents this summer and at all times of the year. If you wish to discuss your case and rights during a free case evaluation, contact us today.