Is There an Increase in Car Accidents in the Summer?
Summertime in New Jersey is just around the corner. Unfortunately for drivers, this means an increase in the risk of car accidents. A phenomenon known as the “100 Deadliest Days” takes place over the summer months, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During this time, the number of fatal car accidents – particularly among teen drivers – drastically increases. Learn a few tips to help keep you safe this summer.
Car Accident Rates Historically Rise With the Temperatures
Car accident statistics around the country show a historic trend of increasing in the warm summer months. According to the National Safety Council, the number of traffic deaths in 2021 was elevated from May through October. This corresponds with a peak in the number of miles traveled, which occurred in July. It also fell directly in the middle of the 100 Deadliest Days, from the last Monday of May (Memorial Day) to the first Monday of September (Labor Day).
New Jersey crash data for 2021 showed a similar trend. The summer months of June, July, August and September all reported more than 60 fatal car accidents each. The months leading up to summer, on the other hand – January through May – recorded 47, 25, 53, 41 and 45 fatal crashes, respectively. While crash rates increased again around the winter holidays, the summertime proved deadliest for drivers in New Jersey.
Why Does Crash Risk Increase in Summer?
As the weather gets hotter, more people leave their homes to enjoy fresh air or a trip to the beach. This leads to more drivers on the road and greater odds of a collision. An influx of tourists vacationing in New Jersey also occurs in summer, especially swarming to popular areas such as Atlantic City, and adds to traffic congestion. More people walking, roller-skating, skateboarding and biking around the state also increases the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
Another risk factor that contributes to summertime car accidents is drinking and driving. Many popular “drinking holidays” take place over the summer months: Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. It is common to celebrate these holidays with barbecues and alcoholic beverages. Students on summer break from school may make the deadly mistake of driving under the influence. Teen drivers are inexperienced and more susceptible to automobile accidents.
Not all summertime crash risks have to do with driver error or negligence, however. Some are caused by vehicle performance issues and bad weather. The risks of flooding and heavy rainstorms increase in the summer, contributing to power outages and traffic accidents. Motor vehicles also perform differently in the heat; a car’s tires, battery and engine may all experience difficulties and breakdowns if the car is not properly maintained.
How to Avoid a Summertime Car Accident
This summer, take your safety into your own hands. Take steps to decrease your risk of a car accident during the months when serious and fatal collisions are most frequent. Use these tips to keep yourself and others safe:
- Inspect your vehicle before heading out, especially if you plan on taking a long road trip.
- Check the weather before you leave.
- Do not text and drive or engage in other distractions.
- Be on the lookout for signs of distracted or intoxicated drivers.
- Increase your following distance to reduce your risk of a rear-end collision.
- Obey the speed limit and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.
- Never drink and drive.
Know your limits. If you are an inexperienced driver, don’t take on a long road trip this summer or travel with a group of friends, as they can be distracting. If you are going to a party or event, arrange a safe and sober ride home. Do not drive late at night, as you may become drowsy. Enjoy summer in safety this year by driving responsibly. If you do get injured at the fault of someone else, ensure you have a trusted attorney on your side, contact us here.