Lots of trends correspond to seasonal changes, from the clothes we wear to when and where we travel and what kinds of issues affect our health. Many people also believe that the seasons have a meaningful effect on human behavior. Data demonstrates that suicide, happiness, birth rates, and other events are statistically higher in some seasons than others.
Of course, scientists would be the first to agree that many factors other than seasonal change can be at play. But regardless of the reasons that things change seasonally, it can be useful to examine the data. In this article, we will consider whether motor vehicle accidents increase during the summer.
The Dangers of Summer Driving
Many people immediately identify winter as the most dangerous time to be on the road. That can make logical sense, especially in areas that have a lot of snow and ice. But the reality is that summer, loosely defined by many as the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, is the most dangerous time of year on American roadways.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI) found that July and August were the deadliest months on the road. Independence Day tied with New Year’s Day as the deadliest individual day, and weekends were determined to be deadlier than weekdays.
While there is no one reason for the increased danger in summer and early fall, researchers and others considering the issue cite a variety of causes, including the following:
- Holiday and vacation congestion: During the summer months, many families take vacations, which results in more cars on the road.
- Teen drivers: School is out in the summer, which means more teen drivers are on the road. Unfortunately, their inexperience leads to more accidents.
- Nice weather: While it may seem counterintuitive to blame accidents on nice weather, keep in mind that weather conditions can result in greater traffic volume. Moreover, when the weather is nice and people are off from work and school, there can be many more pedestrians and bicyclists on the road. The combination often results in more accidents.
- Distracted driving: As smart phones have become the norm, many drivers have texts, social media, and other related distractions at their fingertips. With increased numbers of people on the road in summer, including the aforementioned increase in teen driving, the odds of distracted driving increase.
Take Precautions When Driving in the Summer
If you intend to be on the road this summer like so many others, keep in mind that the roads will be crowded. This could be truer than ever as so many Americans are eager to vacation after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.
Follow the tips below for safer summertime driving:
- Always keep lots of space between you and other vehicles.
- Remain especially vigilant around semi-trucks and cars with aggressive drivers.
- Avoid distractions like texting, and do not drive while under the influence of intoxicants.
- As always, drive defensively.
Call with Questions
If you are injured in a car wreck, you will likely have questions about your rights under the law. The lawyers at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield have years of experience handling personal injury cases involving semi-trucks, automobiles, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. We work all around Oregon seeking justice for our clients. Our firm knows that the only way to make Oregon safe for everyone is to hold negligent drivers accountable for their behavior. Please call us for a free consultation.