The American Automobile Association (AAA) considers Memorial Day the beginning of the 100 deadliest days to drive in the United States. Memorial Day typically signals the end of school, so many teen drivers take to the road to enjoy the summer months with friends. Unfortunately, the combination of youth, holidays, and traffic leads to thousands of crashes across the country, many of them fatal. During the 100 days following Memorial Day, AAA estimates that roughly 1,000 individuals will die on the road.
Major Causes of Deadly Summer Accidents
These 100 deadly days are the result of several factors. Primarily, there is a sudden increase in traffic – teenagers who had been in school all day are now free to take to the road for pleasure. Younger drivers simply lack the experience of older drivers, making them inherently more dangerous on the road. Driver age is certainly a major contributing factor to the 100 deadliest days of summer.
Summertime also means holiday celebrations. Many American families travel and gather for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and weekend cookouts. More cars on the road naturally increases the chances of accidents happening, and many of these summer gatherings involve alcohol.
Drinking and driving is dangerous for anyone in any area of the country. Not only does a drunk driver put his or her own life at risk, the reckless behavior also endangers the lives of everyone else on the road. Drinking during summer celebrations and driving home is a deadly combination that can lead to significant legal penalties including loss of license, heavy fines, and jail time.
Distraction is a significant cause of fatal car accidents, especially among teens. AAA accident data indicates that more than 25% of all fatal accidents involve a cell phone. With the popularity of social media sites, a cell phone can be a dangerous and sometimes fatal distraction.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a serious problem. Looking away from the road for even a few seconds is equivalent to driving blind for long distances. The three types of driving distractions inlclude:
Manual distractions are anything that causes a driver to move his or her hands from the steering wheel. Examples can include fishing through a purse to find something, fumbling with a cell phone, the driver using his or her hand to operate amenity fixtures such as the air conditioning or stereo, or eating.
Cognitive distractions are anything that causes the driver’s attention to shift away from driving. It’s important to remain focused on the road ahead because it can take time for the brain to process visual information while distracted. If a driver is fretting about a stressful day at work and doesn’t notice a car change lanes ahead, this seemingly small distraction can have disastrous consequences.
Visual distractions are anything that causes the driver’s gaze to shift away from the road ahead. Even at moderate speeds, taking your eyes off the road even for a few seconds can be deadly. At high speeds, cars can travel dozens of feet per second, meaning that if you look away for just five seconds, your car is essentially driving blind for more than the length of a football field.
How to Avoid a Deadly Driving Accident
Texting and driving encompasses all three types of distraction, and there is never really a good reason to do it. As we experience the 100 deadliest days to drive, take care to avoid distractions behind the wheel and never operate a vehicle under the influence. If another driver causes you injury and damages due to distraction, driving under the influence, or simply not paying attention, contact a reliable personal injury attorney to represent your case.