Beware these summer-specific driving hazards

Summer driving can be just as hazardous as winter driving, and injury-causing accidents are always a possibility.

During summer, Illinois is full of tourists, families and teenagers alike, all taking advantage of downtime and summer breaks to hit the road. Our many lakes and vacation destinations, premium shopping, world-renowned museums, plus a record number of motorcyclists make our state a prime getaway and a high-traffic area, particularly during the summer months.

Many people don't realize that the peak time for car accidents isn't when slippery snow and ice crust the road in winter, but is actually between July 4 and Labor Day each year. Of course, this isn't to say that car accidents are inevitable once the weather heats up or anything, but there are some summer-specific driving hazards to recognize.

Key hazards

You see them during your morning commute, and while on road trips. Construction zones are plentiful this time of year, particularly since our long and harsh winters "do a number" on road surfaces and require myriad projects to be squeezed into a short period.

Construction can itself result in accidents unless drivers are attentive and diligent. This is because construction often means:

  • Confusing traffic pattern shifts
  • Speed limit changes
  • Detours
  • Loss of shoulders, turning lanes and shortened exit/entrance ramp lengths
  • Workers alongside or in the road
  • Loss of lane marking paint while roads are resurfaced

When you are facing any of these construction zone complications, focus and concentration on driving are paramount. If a single driver fails to pay close attention, an injury-causing car crash could result, or a construction worker could even be killed. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that there are, on average, about 770 construction zone fatalities per year.

Teen drivers, particularly those who are still learning or who have just gotten their unrestricted licenses are on the road en masse during the summer months. They are enjoying outings with their friends, taking summer classes, heading to work or running errands. Unfortunately, teen drivers are far more likely to drive while distracted by their passengers, use technology behind the wheel and speed than their older counterparts are. They are also less experienced with accident avoidance techniques and less adaptable to traffic shifts. All these behaviors lead to higher accident rates for new drivers.

Weather is another key factor in summer crashes. A light rain can mean that surface oils collect on the roadway, creating slick spots that can cause vehicle skids or spinouts. A heavier dousing can impair visibility and cause puddles that result in lost traction and hydroplaning. In some areas, sudden rainstorms can even lead to flash floods that sweep cars away or leave debris on the road as the water recedes.

As you can see, summer driving is fraught with its own unique set of hazards and difficulties, and this article has barely scratched the surface. There are many more issues that increase the traffic accident rate in the summer months, including drunk drivers, drowsy drivers, and glare-reduced visibility. Staying alert, awake and attentive on the road can help keep you safe, but your preparation can be for naught if other drivers don't do the same.

If you have been injured in a summer car crash that is the fault of another driver, you have legal rights. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Jasmer Law Firm for more information. Call today toll free at 866-406-1848, locally in the Chicago area at 312-782-6344, or submit their online form.

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