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Safe Summer Driving

By John Singleton on June 10, 2022

Summer is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy beautiful Virginia. Picnics, barbecues, and holidays are opportunities to take a break from work and spend time with friends and family. But summer is also the most dangerous time of the year to be on the road.

With more people driving, the number of auto accidents increases in the summer. That’s why the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days” of the year.

Three main factors make summer dangerous: more teens, tourists, and drinking. However, you can talk with your loved ones about summer driving hazards and strategies to address them, and you can take steps to have a safer summer in Virginia.

More teenagers are on the road

With school out for the summer, more teenagers are on the road. Teenagers are obviously less experienced than other drivers. Drivers learn over time how to respond to dangerous situations.

Teenagers are also more impulsive and likely to engage in risky behavior. Biological evidence shows that teenagers are not fully prepared to make safe decisions. In fact, a greater propensity for “risk-taking and poor decision-making” is often a result of “protracted development” of the teenager’s prefrontal cortex.

That’s why in Virginia and across the country, teenage drivers are involved in a disproportionate number of auto accidents, especially in the summer. Sadly, Virginia averages over 8,000 accidents involving teens from May through August. These accidents result in 29 fatalities per year.

Accordingly, Virginia law strictly limits teen driving between midnight and 4 a.m. And drivers under 18 are allowed to have only one passenger under 21 riding with them.

Beyond what our Commonwealth laws do, you can take steps to protect your teens during the summer as well, including:

  • Talk to your teens about safe driving habits, including obeying the speed limit.
  • Remind teens that fatal summer accidents are much more likely to happen at night.
  • Know where your teen is going, and don’t allow joyriding.
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving.
  • Have zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Tell your teen to call you instead of getting into a car with someone who has been drinking or using drugs.

 

Tourists don’t always know where they’re going

Another summer driving problem is that more people are vacationing and touring new areas. These tourists are obviously unfamiliar with local roads. They don’t know where traffic signs are, and they may become distracted while relying heavily on their GPS.

Strategies for avoiding accidents caused by out-of-town drivers include:

  • Drive defensively.
  • Always buckle up.
  • Use extra caution at intersections, making sure all other cars have stopped before proceeding.

Drunk driving increases in the summertime

In the summer, people tend to start drinking earlier in the day, and they may not realize how many drinks they’ve had. People driving under the influence is a year-round problem, but because many are more relaxed during summer holidays, vacations, and social events, their alcohol consumption can easily get out of hand.

Take these steps to help prevent drunk driving accidents:

  • Always select a designated driver.
  • Avoid nighttime driving as much as possible.
  • Have a rideshare app available on your cell phone.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol served at social events you host.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists should exercise special caution.
  • If you notice someone has been drinking, offer them a safe ride home.
  • Make sure underage drivers aren’t being served parties.

Were you injured by a dangerous driver?

At GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys, we consider it a calling to help victims of dangerous drivers. We seek compensation to fully cover the costs of your medical care, time off from work, and more. If a careless driver has harmed you or someone you love, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistake.

Call (804) 413-6777 and schedule a FREE consultation with us today. We’ll tell you about our no-fee guarantee: meaning that we get paid when you get paid. And we will always treat you like our neighbor, never a number.

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