Summer Driving Safety Tips
June 13, 2021
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more traffic accidents happen in the warm summer months than any other time of the year. With the official start to summer rapidly approaching, there is no better time than now to brush up on some useful precautionary measures that can help to reduce the likelihood of getting into a preventable automobile crash.
It comes as no surprise that there is a marked increase in travel during the summer months. This year, travel agencies are seeing even more of a boom as people begin to celebrate the recently relaxed travel and social distancing restrictions that are happening nationwide. Tripadvisor’s 2021 Summer Travel Index shows that more than two-thirds of Americans are planning to travel this summer. While some people are opting to book flights in order to reach their destinations, the travel agency says that nearly one-half are planning to drive.
The NHTSA’s most recent summer vehicle accident data confirms that there were 9,050 fatal crashes in June, July, and August of 2018. There are several factors behind this influx in summertime deadly crashes, such as more vehicles being on the road and a higher incident rate of drunk-driving related fatalities. In fact, almost one-third of annual drunk-driving related fatalities occur during the summer. Since there is a greater chance of becoming involved in an car accident (or experiencing another type of emergency) while traveling in the upcoming months, here are some of the NHTSA’s useful tips to keep you and your loved ones safe when you hit the road.
The NHTSA’s Tips for Traveling Safely
Regardless of whether you are planning a vacation or simply getting in the car to commute to work or visit friends or family, it is important to make sure to be prepared. No one ever plans on getting a flat tire or having his or her vehicle break down, but the unexpected can always happen. The NHTSA recommends that every driver has an emergency roadside kit, which should include items like:
- A cell phone and charger
- First aid kit
- Tire pressure gauge
- Flares and a white flag
- Duct tape
- Jack (and a ground mat) for changing a tire
- Basic repair tools
- Work gloves and a change of clothes
- Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medications
- Extra windshield washer fluid
- Emergency blankets, towels, and coats
Not only is it a good idea to have a fully stocked emergency roadside kit, but also to check for vehicle recalls, to stay on top of your car’s regular maintenance and service dates, to be familiar with your vehicle’s features and user manual and if you are taking a trip, to plan your travel and routes beforehand. The NHTSA also recommends that drivers check the weather, traffic, and other roadway conditions before a trip so that they have plenty of time to reach their destination safely and without being in a rush.
As part of its annual safe summer driving campaign, the NHTSA also has a vehicle safety checklist with plenty of other useful tips. Here are just a few:
- Have a mechanic check your vehicle’s battery, belts, and charging system. If you drive a hybrid-electric vehicle, make sure there is gasoline in the tank to support the gas engine
- Make sure you have enough coolant in your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual to ensure that the coolant you are using meets the manufacturer’s specifications
- Check headlights, brake lights, emergency flashers, turn signals, and interior lights. If applicable, check your trailer brake lights and turn signals as well
- Check your vehicle’s oil level and if necessary, make an appointment for an oil change. It is also a good idea to check brake, automatic transmission or clutch, power steering, and windshield washer fluid levels
- Inspect all belts and hoses under your vehicle’s hood to ensure there are no blisters, bulges, cracks, or cuts. If they are showing signs of wear, replace them. Also be sure to check all hose connections to make sure they are secure
- Make sure your air conditioning system is working properly. Certain people are particularly vulnerable to heat exposure and heat-related illnesses, such as children, older adults, and individuals who are in poor health or who have a history of heat sensitivity
Tires can also be a big contributing factor in a deadly accident. In 2017, NHTSA counted more than 730 fatal accidents that were tire-related. To prevent tire-related accidents from happening, drivers should check their tires at least once a month and before they take a road trip. The NHTSA also recommends keeping an eye out for uneven wear or insufficient tread on tires (the tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch or greater on all tires). Even if your tires appear to be in good condition, refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to determine how often you should replace tires regardless of use.
Once you are sure that your vehicle is in good working order and you have an emergency roadside kit, there are just a few more things to remember. Make sure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up with a seat belt or is secured in an age-and-size-appropriate car seat or booster seat. Children under the age of 13-years-old should always be buckled in the back seat of the vehicle. Once you are on the road, avoid partaking in risky behaviors like:
- Driving distracted
- Being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Aggressive driving
- Driving while drowsy
What if You Are in an Accident?
Being involved in a car accident can cause catastrophic physical and emotional consequences. Car accident victims often experience a range of injuries, some of which are long-term or even permanent. People who sustain severe injuries can accrue debilitating medical bills and lose time from work. Depending of the severity of a person’s car accident-related injuries and trauma, they may never be able to work again.
If you were injured in an automobile accident, it is beneficial to have an experienced attorney on your side. When it comes to determining liability, it is crucial to examine a car accident from every angle. At Galfand Berger, our team of attorneys has successfully recovered millions of dollars for our injured clients. Here are some examples of our firm’s automobile accident recoveries:
- Our client suffered a serious closed head injury when the defendant-driver turned in front of her and caused the accident. Our client experienced memory loss and exhibited strange behavior. Our firm was able to recover $1.1 million for the client.
- Our client was left paralyzed from the injuries they sustained in a major car accident. We litigated the case against not only the defendant-driver who hit our client head-on, but also against the automobile manufacturer for a defective seat belt and the crash-worthiness of the vehicle. We recovered $4.5 million for our client.
If you would like to speak with an attorney about filing a personal injury claim, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, Galfand Berger LLP serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.