Summer is just around the corner, and in Southern California, that means great weather, vacation time, and ample opportunity for getting out and about. If you, your friends, or your family have any plans to enjoy the coming months by venturing onto the road as a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver, be warned that this season is known for unique and increased roadway risks.
At Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, our Southern California personal injury lawyers are well aware of the roadway risks that come with the spring and summer months. Over the years, we’ve represented many victims and families who suffered harm and losses as a result of these increased risks, especially when driving or navigating public roadways as bicyclists or pedestrians. Below, we provide additional information about the summer roadway dangers, as well as some helpful tips to reduce risks and stay safe.
- Young & Novice Drivers – Summer means summer vacation for high school and college students, and more young and inexperienced drivers on the road. Because teen and novice drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than any other age group, the risks for vehicle wrecks are increased during this time of year for everyone. If you have a young driver in your household, do your part to ensure they have command of their driving abilities, drive according to any restrictions imposed by a provisional license (i.e. not having friends in the car), and understand the importance of driving distraction free. Because summer vacation may also mean time for parties, always ensure your young driver understands the tremendous risks that accompany driving under the influence.
- Increased Traffic – With more drivers heading out on the road for vacation, road trips, and various summertime activities, the summer months can see a major increase in traffic congestion. This is especially pronounced during summer holidays and holiday weekends, such as the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, more cars on the road means greater potential for accidents, which is why all motorists need to be extra cautious when driving. Reduce your speed when you run into increased traffic, avoid distractions to prepare for any sudden stops, and watch out for impatient drivers who may negligently endanger others when driving unsafely in traffic. Because traffic congestion may also be caused by out-of-state drivers and tourists unfamiliar with local roads or traffic laws, you should also be prepared for any sudden maneuvers, lane changes, slowed speed, and other behaviors they may exhibit.
- Impaired Driving – Drunk and drugged driving is a danger any time of the year, but statistics show it increases dramatically during summer months. Whether it’s a holiday, weekend, or otherwise, do your part to never drive under the influence by planning for a ride, staying the night at the location where you plan to enjoy alcohol, or utilizing a designated driver or Uber or Lyft. Taking these steps doesn’t always prevent drunk driving accidents caused by negligent motorists, not be cognizant of driver exhibiting signs of intoxication (unsafe speeds, dangerous lane changes, swerving, etc.).
- Tire Blowouts and Auto Part Malfunction – Summer months bring warmer weather, especially in Southern California. This weather can wreak havoc on certain auto parts and compromise your safety when in a car or on the road with others. As AAA recommends, be sure to have your vehicle thoroughly inspected prior to summer driving, especially before any longer trips, and be sure to check tires on a regular basis during the summer or any heat waves to avoid blowouts.
- Pedestrians and Cyclists – With warmer weather and vacation time come increases in the number of pedestrians and cyclists who hit the road. If you plan to enjoy the outdoors with some recreational running, bicycling, or simply as a way to get around, make sure you obey the rules of the road, use designated crosswalks, make yourself as visible as possible, and be wary of nearby motorists who may not see you. The same applies to motorcyclists who choose to enjoy the summer by spending more time on their bikes. If you’re a driver of a motor vehicle, you can also do your part to keep others safe by being aware of any foot or bicycle traffic, especially in locations where tourists or others may congregate.
- Construction – Better weather makes summer months a popular time for construction, whether that be roadway construction or construction of various structures, businesses, or homes, near roadways. Be aware that California law requires vehicles to slow down in construction zones, and that there may be unexpected traffic congestion near construction sites.
- Heat & Fatigue – If you’re traveling by car to enjoy the outdoors, take the heat into consideration. Excessive heat during the summer months can lead to dehydration and fatigue that can compromise your ability to drive safely, especially during longer trips. In fact, studies have shown that fatigued driving can be just as dangerous and driving under the influence of alcohol! Plan accordingly, drink plenty of water, get enough rest, or make plans to switch off with sober drivers if the heat gets you down.
Being aware of these roadway risks can help you reduce summertime roadway risks, but it can’t eliminate those risks entirely. Unfortunately, not everyone on the road makes safety a priority, and when their negligence caused preventable wrecks, victims can suffer serious harm and consequences. Fortunately, our legal team at Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP is available to help victims of car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents following preventable injuries. Learn more about your right to compensation and the personal injury claim process when you contact us for a free consultation.