While Florida is famous as a gorgeous vacation destination, it’s also famous for its hot and humid summers. Summer vacations and driving come with a host of increased risks, especially in Florida’s particular climate. Understanding the increased summer dangers will help you take steps to ensure your safety, passenger safety, and the safety of all other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway.
If you have been injured on the roads, due to the negligence or fault of another, call our accident attorneys, we are available 24/7 and will provide you with a free, no obligation case evaluation – call today 800-753-5203
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer vacation season in the United States. Weddings, holidays, family gatherings, beach trips, and general vacations are all more likely to be planned in the summer than any other season. But according to the NHTSA, summer is the deadliest season for vehicular travel. What is it about summer that makes driving so much more dangerous?
1. Increased Road Congestion
Summer is the biggest vacation and travel season of the year. July and August, in particular, tend to be tourist-heavy in Florida, especially when several Florida tourist attractions are only open seasonally. In addition, many people have vacation and second homes in Florida that they only live in during the summer season.
An influx of permanent residents and vacationers means that the roads are more congested in the summer than during any other time of the year. Heavier traffic means more hazards and potential for error. This makes the rate of two-vehicle collisions higher during the summer than during other seasons.
2. More Inexperienced Drivers
High schools and colleges have both let out for the season, leaving teenagers swaths of free time. The freedom to drive is an important one in teenage independence, but the increased number of teenage drivers on the road can cause hazards. Teen drivers don’t have as much driving experience as older adults and are prone to more vehicular errors.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is always a problem, but it’s even more dangerous in the summertime than in other seasons. Texting while driving is illegal in Florida because distracted driving has been proven just as dangerous as driving under the influence. When you text and drive, you distract your eyes, mind, and hands from the task of driving. All three of these aspects should be solely focused on driving at any given time.
During the summer in Florida, there are more pedestrians, bicyclists, and tourists on the roads. Tourists are also often unfamiliar with traffic patterns and safe places to cross the street. It’s worth noting that a pedestrian always has the right of way, even when no crosswalk is visible. Distracted drivers are at a much higher risk of injuring or killing bicyclists, tourists, or motorcyclists.
4. Heat Intolerance
The summer heat itself can be dangerous. On an eighty-degree day, a parked car can quickly reach temperatures of more than one hundred degrees. Every year there are tragic news headlines about pets or young children dying of heatstroke in parked vehicles. It’s essential that you not leave children or pets in a car in general; this is even more imperative on hot days.
Heat can be dangerous while driving as well. If your car doesn’t have proper cooling or air conditioning systems, the driver can be at risk for heatstroke while driving down the road. Heatstroke slows reaction time, alters your mental state and behavior, and causes debilitating headaches and nausea. Drivers with heatstroke are in danger both from the heat itself and from the increased risk of accidents due to slowed reaction time.
Some of the danger during the summer is a simple visibility issue. On cloudless days, the sun is extremely bright. If your windshield and mirrors aren’t clean, the sun’s reflection makes visibility even more difficult. Vehicular accidents caused by the sun’s brightness usually occur during early morning or evening commutes, when the sun is too low to shield your eyes from.
6. Storms and Hydroplaning
Florida’s rainiest season happens between May and October. When heavy rains fall on usually-dry roads, the soil can’t absorb the moisture. This increases the risk of flooding and hydroplaning. The water can’t run into the soil, so it gathers on the roadways, where cars driving too fast are likely to lose control.
Accidents are also likely to occur in rainy conditions because of poor visibility. When Florida summers are defined by their rainfall, it’s not a wonder accident rates are higher during these months.
7. Tire Blowouts
When your tires heat up, the air inside them expands, greatly increasing their air pressure. Hot weather and hot pavement can combine to cause catastrophic tire blowouts, which in turn can lead to swerving and car accidents.
8. Increased Construction
Many construction projects are completed during the summer months. Construction work is more likely to be scheduled during the summer than any other season. Construction zones usually have reduced speeds, narrow lanes, and unusual traffic patterns. Drivers who don’t pay enough attention to their surroundings are at risk of causing an accident.
How to Protect Yourself
You can’t control every driver on the road, but you can take a few steps to increase your own safety during the summer months:
- Slow down when driving in heavy traffic
- Always check your blind spot when merging, even if you’re certain there’s no vehicle there
- Follow all road safety rules and practice defensive driving
- Turn your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode or place it in the backseat to avoid distracted driving temptations
- Make sure all passengers are wearing their seatbelts and do not begin driving until all seatbelts are fastened
- Update your air conditioning system or drive with the windows rolled down to prevent heatstroke
- Shield your eyes and drive slowly in increased brightness conditions
- Slow down in wet weather conditions
- Learn how your vehicle should respond to hydroplaning
- Perform regular tire inspections and maintenance (treads and pressure should be checked at least once monthly)
- Stay alert and pay attention in heavy construction areas
If you have been injured on the roads, due to the negligence or fault of another, call our Tampa accident attorneys, we are available 24/7 and will provide you with a free, no obligation case evaluation – call today 800-753-5203