According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), drivers are at a higher risk of getting into car accidents during the summer than at any other time of the year. This could be because school is out and there are more people out enjoying the summer weather cruising in their motorcycle or bicycle. Luckily, there are some things you can do to protect your family. Here are some driving safety tips from our California accident injury law firm to stay safe during the 100 deadliest days of summer.
What Are the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?
The “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” refers to the time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when fatal teen car accidents increase dramatically. From 2010 to 2019, more than 7,000 people nationwide died in teen driving-related summertime crashes. That is more than seven people per day compared to an average of six people per day during the rest of the year.
Why do more fatal teen driving-related accidents occur during the summer? Simply put: there are more teens on the road with more free time to drive because there is no school. Additionally, summer driving has added hazards for all drivers, such as extremely hot weather and fast-forming thunderstorms.
Teen Driver Facts
Here are some frightening facts about teen drivers:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers.
- In 2018, teen drivers were involved in 955,913 crashes resulting in 4,000 fatalities and 359,268 serious injuries.
- Teens have the highest crash rate of any age group.
- Teenagers are 2.5 times more likely to engage in potentially risky driving behavior when driving with a teenage peer compared to driving alone. The likelihood increases to 3 times when they have multiple passengers.
- On average, 260 teens are killed in car crashes every month during the summer, a 26% increase compared to other months of the year.
- Seat belts are not worn in ⅓ of serious injuries and deaths involving teen drivers.
- 60% of teen crashes are caused by distracted driving, with the top distraction being other passengers, causing 15% of teen driver crashes, compared to 12% caused by talking on a cell phone or texting.
- Crashes involving teen drivers occur more often on Fridays than on any other day of the week.
Factors that Commonly Result in Deadly Crashes for Teen Drivers
Many different factors contribute to the higher risk of deadly crashes involving teenage drivers. Some of the most common factors include distraction, not buckling up, speeding, and impaired driving.
Distracted driving causes about 6 out of 10 teen crashes, with other passengers and smartphones being the biggest distractions.
Not Buckling Up
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 47% of the 22,215 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2019 were not wearing seat belts. That number is even higher for teens: in 2015, 60% of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a seat belt.
Speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of fatal crashes that involve teen drivers, and speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes — that’s 8% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. And about 16% of motor vehicle accidents were due to drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal).
Summer Driving Safety Tips
Here are some driving safety tips to keep your teen – and the rest of your family – safe on the road this summer:
- Talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. Share some statistics and stories related to distracted driving and teen drivers. Remind your teen often that driving is a skill that requires their full attention. Phone calls, texts, and social media can wait until they arrive at their destination.
- Set a good example for your teen by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel while driving. Be consistent between your own driving behaviors and the message you tell your teen. Teen drivers learn a lot from watching their parents.
- Set consequences for distracted driving. If your teen breaks a distraction rule you have set, consider suspending their driving privileges, limiting the hours or places they can drive, or restricting access to their cell phone.
- For the first year of having a driver’s license in California, teen drivers cannot drive between 11 pm and 5 am. Additionally, they cannot transport passengers under 20 years old unless accompanied by a California-licensed parent or guardian, a California-licensed driver 25 years old or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor.
- Prepare an emergency roadside kit with things like a smartphone charger, a flashlight, batteries, emergency flare, drinking water, non-perishable food, tools, and a tire gauge.
- Get your vehicle inspected and tuned up regularly. Breakdowns can turn a fun trip into a dangerous nightmare. Being stuck in desert conditions or on a cliffside road can be deadly, so make sure your car is in good working order.
- Check your tires. Tire blowouts can cause you to lose control of your vehicle and crash, especially in bad weather. Check your tire tread by sticking a penny between the treads. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires.
- Make sure your headlights, taillights, and turn signals work. This ensures other drivers can see you and you can see obstacles at night.
- Always check your route before going on a trip. Do not rely entirely on your smartphone or GPS since they can fail. Be familiar with your route and keep a map on hand. Also, check weather reports along your route so you can avoid bad weather.
- When you pack your vehicle, distribute the weight of the cargo evenly. Unbalanced cargo can make your car unstable. Avoid obstructing your view or mirrors.
How Can an Auto Accident Attorney Help After a Crash?
While following these driving safety tips should help your family stay safe during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, sometimes you cannot avoid being hit by drunk, drugged, or dangerous drivers. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact James McKiernan Lawyers by clicking here or calling 800-200-HURT.
We offer free consultations, so contact us today to start rebuilding your life through strong legal representation.