Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
July 12, 2011

7 Important Safety Tips for Summer Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, August is actually the most dangerous month to drive. That’s right—not December or January when ice covered roads make for treacherous travel. More motor vehicle accidents occur in August than in any other month of the year, partly due to the increased number of drivers on the roadways.

August is notoriously a slow month for many companies, prompting employees and their families to take their summer vacations before the kids head back to school. In addition, increased glare, distracted driving, and fatigued travelers all increase the likelihood of sustaining serious injuries in a catastrophic Florida car accident.

So what can you do to prevent a car crash this summer? For starters, you can follow these simple safety tips for summer driving:

  • Check your tires regularly: According to the Weather Channel, tire care is especially important in summer months because long road trips combined with higher temperatures can put additional strain on your tires. Be sure your tires are properly inflated and avoid overloading your car when you go on long road trips. If there is not enough tread left on your tires, be sure to change them prior to traveling. Tires that are not safe can cause serious car crashes and can prevent drivers from braking in time to avoid a collision.
  • Be Prepared for Pop-up Storms: In the summer months, storms can seem to pop up out of nowhere. Flash floods, tornadoes, and heavy rain can all create dangerous driving conditions. Before venturing out, make sure you are aware of any dangerous weather storms that may be approaching.
  • Slow Down on Rain-slicked Streets: Hydroplaning is a frightening experience and can cause serious and fatal car crashes. In order to prevent skids, drive at a slow and careful speed and avoid braking hard. When you do need to stop, maintain a mild pressure on the brakes and allow a large distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you do find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake suddenly or turn your vehicle. Instead, ease your foot off the gas pedal and try to feel the road again. If you have to brake, make sure you pump the brakes lightly—DO NOT BRAKE HARD. If your car has anti-lock brakes then brake normally; your car is equipped to pump the brakes for you.
  • Avoid Drinking and Driving: It is never okay to drink and drive. Intoxicated drivers kill over 10,000 people every year. If you are at a summer party where alcohol is being served, be sure you have a designated driver or the phone number to a cab company. Even if you don’t drink and drive, be aware that many people in Florida still do, and they continue to put themselves and everyone around them at risk. As such, it is important to drive defensively.
  • Avoid Distractions: Distractions are everywhere—from the kids in your car to the iPhone in your lap. These distractions make it more difficult to drive safely and responsibly. When venturing out this summer, try to minimize distractions by leaving your cellphone in your glove compartment and give excitable children some quiet games and books to read instead. Even taking your eyes off the road for a minute can cause a Florida car accident.
  • Maintain a Safe Following Distance: Many catastrophic summer accidents can be prevented simply by following the 3 second rule. In general, you should be three seconds behind the car in front of you. To calculate this, find a fixed object on the road (a street sign, an intersection, or a tree) and begin counting when the vehicle in front of you passes the object. If you reach the object before three seconds is up, then you are following too closely.
  • Slow Down Even in Beautiful Weather: While the majority of us will slow down when the weather gets bad, it is important to maintain safe driving speeds at all times. Speeding is the number one cause of car crashes across the United States.

By following these simple safety rules, you can prevent catastrophic car crashes from occurring.

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