With summer in full swing, it seems like everyone’s hitting the road to visit family, enjoy vacation, and make the most out of their kids being home from school for the summer. With this increase in driving comes more accidents; the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are called “the 100 deadliest days of summer.”
Drunk Drivers on the Road
With Memorial Day, Labor Day, Independence Day, and great weather on many weekends, alcohol consumption is on the rise during this time. When you’re on the road (especially at night), stay alert, as you’re more likely to encounter drivers under the influence.
As a driver, you can ensure the safety of yourself and those around you by refraining from driving after you’ve imbibed or by being the designated driver. Always have a plan about who will be the driver, and if plans change, make use of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to ensure your group gets home safely.
Places that serve alcohol are accustomed to people leaving their cars overnight. All you have to do is let them know. It’s part of drinking responsibly.
If you’re tempted to risk it, know that drunk driving is expensive. You’re looking at a couple thousand in fines, six months or more without a license, and higher insurance costs. Save lives and your financial future by being a responsible driver this summer.
Beware of Motorcyclists and Bicyclists
As the weather gets nicer, more people venture out on bicycles and motorcycles. Did you know that bicyclists are required to follow traffic laws and are not supposed to ride on sidewalks and other areas intended for pedestrians? Nevertheless, many cyclists violate these rules. That means you’ll need to be on the lookout for them, especially in areas that don’t have dedicated bike lanes. In places that do, accommodate the cyclists and ensure you’re not in their lane.
Remember that bikes are especially popular with kids. They’re accessible, and you don’t need a license to drive one. If you or your children are heading out on a bike this summer, make sure they wear safety gear, including a helmet. By making sure all helmets meet safety ratings and fit properly, you can prevent a family member from being included as one of the 783 cyclists that are fatally wounded from bike accidents each year.
Because motorcycles have small frames and expose the rider to the elements, they are more dangerous to drive than cars and trucks. On a motorcycle, a collision is more likely to be deadly. As a driver of a car, you can prevent a collision by giving motorcyclists plenty of room, even if they are weaving in and out of traffic. As a biker, you can ensure safer driving this summer through several methods:
- Don’t brake on a turn: Braking on a turn can cause skidding or a crash. It’s best to brake prior to entering the turn. Avoid accelerating during the turn.
- Use back brakes: If you do need to brake on a turn or find yourself in a sudden braking situation, rely on your back brakes. This helps you avoid shifting all the weight forward, which can send you straight over the front of your bike.
- Practice defensive driving: Never assume another driver can see you. Make sure you follow the rules of the road and always keep your headlights on, even in good weather.
- Learn your bike: In addition to remembering proper body position, your body should follow your eyes and you should take time to learn or relearn an individual bike. This is especially true if you’re a seasonal bike rider.
- Wear the right gear: Helmets are 37% effective when it comes to fatal injury prevention for motorcycle drivers. Keep yourself safer with a helmet.
Practice Road Trip Safety on Long Drives
Summer is also the time for road trip adventures. Whether driving alone or with your family and friends, you’ll probably clock an impressive number of miles this season. Make sure you stay safe while you do it.
Have you ever driven somewhere, but don’t remember the act of driving there? That’s highway hypnosis, and it’s pretty common. You might experience that due to boredom, the constant sounds of driving and the lack of other activities. Highway hypnosis means you’re zoning out and might not have the reaction time you need while driving.
Fatigue is a major issue for long-distance drivers, so ensure you get plenty of rest and switch with other drivers when possible. Generally, you should break every two hours or 100 miles, whichever comes first. Avoid highway hypnosis by talking to a passenger (or a friend on the phone using bluetooth or hands-free technology) and by shifting your eyes frequently.
Additionally, don’t forget to remain aware of other general summer dangers, like climbing temperatures and the presence of disease-carrying insects like ticks. When you get in and out of the car, it’s an ideal time to perform a general self-check for wellness. Always stay hydrated, and protect your skin and eyes from excessive sunlight by using sunscreen and shades. Above all, don’t forget to have fun on your journey!
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