The 100 Deadliest Days For Drivers: Are You Prepared?
It’s officially graduation season, which means more young drivers are on the road and the 100 deadliest days of the summer driving season has begun. According to the American Automobile Association, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered to be the most dangerous time for drivers.
But why are these summer days so dangerous and what can drivers do to reduce their risk of being in a car accident?
More inexperienced drivers are on the road
Personal injury lawyers often see cases of reckless or negligent driving that involves speeding or texting. But in this case, it’s not just recklessness that’s causing an increase in car accidents but inexperience.
Researchers from AAA analyzed the data from the 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. In their analysis, AAA found that over 1,050 people were killed in car accidents involving a teenage driver in 2016 during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days,” up to 10 people die per day during this period, a 14% increase compared to any other time of the year. Because school has let out for the season, a greater number of inexperienced drivers are on the road at the same time.
“The number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer is an important traffic safety concern and research shows that young drivers are at greater risk and have higher crash rates compared to older and more experienced drivers,” said Dr. David Yang, the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“Through education, proper training, and involvement of parents, we can help our young drivers to become better and safer drivers, which in turn keeps the roads safer for everyone,” said Yang.
What’s causing teen drivers to get into accidents?
The two key factors that contribute to the increase in car accidents during this period are speeding and nighttime driving.
The AAA found that 36% of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teenage drivers occur between 9:00 PM and 5:00 AM. What’s more, during the 100 deadliest days, the percentage of nighttime crash fatalities involving teen drivers increased by 22%.
“Not only are risks, like nighttime driving, a particular danger to young drivers, nearly every state also has a law restricting how late teens may be out on the roads,” said Richard Romer, manager of state relations at AAA. “This is a timely reminder for parents to be actively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process, understanding the risks and to be educated on their state’s teen driving law.”
Driving at night can be challenging even for experienced drivers, personal injury lawyers could argue. Areas with poor lighting can make obstacles on the road difficult to see. And if it’s been raining, lights can reflect off the road and impair a driver’s vision.
Nighttime driving paired with distractions such as passengers, music, or texting can make the situation even worse. That said, as an experienced car accident attorney will tell you, it’s crucial not to be negligent on the road at any time of day but especially at night.
The AAA also found that approximately one in 10 motor vehicle fatalities that are speed-related involve a teen driver. And up to 29% of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teenage driver were also speed-related.
Remember to keep your eyes on the road, not your phone
In many a personal injury lawyer’s case files, distracted driving is often a cause for many accidents. According to a study from the University of Iowa, texting while driving is a major contributing factor to car accidents involving a teen driver. Researchers analyzed the footage of 2,229 dash-camera videos taken through a program with Lytz DriveCam.
The videos show moderate to severe car accidents between August 2007 and April 2015. In their analysis of the footage, researchers looked at the final six seconds before each car accident.
In 15% of car accidents, the driver was talking to others in the car. In 12%, the driver was using their cell phone and in 11% the driver was looking at something inside the car.
“It’s no secret that teens are extremely connected to their cell phones,” said Jennifer Ryan, the director of state relations at AAA. “Many teens are texting or using social media behind the wheel more often than in the past, which is making an unsafe situation even worse.”
The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that texting while driving increases the risk of a car accident by 23 times. And the risk for teenage drivers has increased even more in recent years as teens have switched from taking calls while driving to texting or using social media.
“They went from a dangerous activity to an extremely dangerous activity,” said Jurek Grabowski, the research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “In these dangerous situations, they don’t even see the crashes coming and that’s just insane.”
How to reduce your risk
Even if you have a personal injury lawyer on speed-dial, it’s important to keep a sharp eye on the road during the 100 deadliest days. There will be more inexperienced drivers than usual, which means you’ll be driving alongside more people who are distracted or driving recklessly.
If you have a teen driver in your life, discuss the dangers of risky driving situations ahead of time and teach by example. Don’t speed or drive recklessly behind the wheel of your own vehicle.
As for when you’re on the road yourself, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Pull into traffic slowly and be aware of your blind spots. Not only are there more teen drivers on the road but it’s also motorcycle season.
- Watch out for drivers who run red lights. Count to three before you enter the intersection to avoid drivers who try to shoot through the last second of a yellow light.
- Don’t reach for things when they fall. It might be frustrating to drop a coffee or piece of food on the floor, but you increase your car accident risk when you reach for it. Instead, let it be until you can pull over.
What do I do if I get into a car accident?
Every year, up to 3 million people are injured and 37,000 people die in car accidents on U.S. roads. Your risk of getting into a car accident increases during the 100 deadliest days of the year.
Reduce your risk of getting into a car accident by driving carefully and paying close attention to other drivers. If you do get into a car accident, it may be in your best interest to file a personal injury claim with a car accident lawyer.
Experienced personal injury lawyers can help you file your claim and argue your case should your claim go to court. Even if you’re not sure if the other driver was speeding or being negligent, it’s good to hire a personal injury lawyer if you were injured by the other driver or if your vehicle suffered damage during the accident.
Looking for personal injury lawyers Odessa TX trusts?
If you suffered from an injury due to another driver’s negligence behind the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical treatments and vehicle damage. Contact the law offices of Heriberto Ramos today to schedule a consultation.