Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Over the next few months, many people will pack their cars and head out on family vacations. School break is also typically associated with an increase in the number of inexperienced teenage drivers taking road trips. The rise in popularity of music festivals will have many young adults driving long distances to see their favorite bands. This influx of vehicles on the road during the summer months also means that there is a higher risk of car crashes, both right here in Connecticut and throughout the country.
In addition to the dangers posed by such a large number of drivers, the hot summer weather also increases the risk of vehicle-related issues, such as overheated engines and tire blowouts, that can cause catastrophic collisions. For all of these reasons, it’s crucial that you stay safe when you are driving this summer.
The following tips will help you reduce your risk of a car crash during the summer months.
Plan Your Trip in Advance
It can be tempting to just plug your destination into your cell phone GPS when you leave your house, but it is in your best interest to take some time prior to your trip to plan out your route. This will give you a better understanding of any potential hazards along your intended route, including road construction, so that you can make alternate arrangements if necessary.
Make sure you check the weather along your route before you leave. Heavy storms can make for dangerous driving conditions. Knowing what to expect will help you stay focused. It can also allow you to identify potential towns to spend the night if the driving conditions become too dangerous.
Get Your Vehicle Checked before Leaving on a Road Trip
Highway driving on hot summer days can take a toll on your vehicle. It’s crucial that you make sure it is in good working order before leaving. This will significantly reduce your chances of having a breakdown that causes a car crash.
The following items should be done before departing on a road trip:
- Check the tire pressure and tread wear on all of your tires
- Check the levels for your oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer fluid and power steering fluid
- Bring your car for any servicing appointments, such as an oil change or tire rotation, that may come due during the trip
- Replace windshield wiper blades, especially if they were used all winter
- Inspect your cooling system to ensure it is working properly
- Make sure all auxiliary equipment such as trailers or campers work properly
Assemble an Emergency Kit
You never know when an unexpected breakdown will occur during a long road trip. It’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit in your vehicle as a precautionary measure. This kit should include:
- Cell phone charger
- First aid supplies
- Jumper cables
- Car jack
- Basic tools
- Any medications you or your family may need
- Non-perishable snacks
Keep Your Focus on the Road
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of auto crashes. You can significantly reduce your risk of a collision by eliminating these distractions:
- Don’t talk or text on your cell phone while driving
- Refrain from checking and posting on social media while you’re driving
- Program your GPS device before you drive and if possible, have a passenger manage the navigation duties
- Pull over when you need to eat a snack or drink water
- Brush your hair and apply makeup before you leave, not while driving
- Bring items to keep your children occupied so that you don’t have to focus your energy on breaking up arguments between siblings
Don’t Drink and Drive
Drinking and driving is a year-round problem, but it is even more widespread during the summer months due to BBQs, pool parties, beach trips and other events that commonly involve alcohol. Enjoying a few drinks during a summer gathering is perfectly acceptable if you aren’t the driver. However, you should always refrain from drinking if you are the person responsible for driving home.
If there is no one to be a designated driver, you have options:
- Take Uber, Lyft or a taxi to the party
- Use public transportation
- Ask the party host if you can spend the night
Don’t Drive when You’re Tired
Long road trips can often force you to put in a full day behind the wheel. It’s important that you are always fresh and alert while driving. Driver fatigue can negatively impact your reflexes and reaction time, increasing the risk of a car crash.
When planning your road trip, try to avoid driving during hours when you are most tired. If you’re not a morning person, don’t take the first driving shift. If you don’t function well at night, make sure someone else is behind the wheel once it gets dark out.
You can also cut down on driver fatigue by getting a good night’s sleep before you leave on a trip and by making sure there are several drivers to share the responsibility. When you feel yourself getting tired, look for a safe place to pull over so that someone else can drive. If all drivers are tired, look for a hotel where you can get some rest before continuing the trip the next day.
Keep an Eye Out for Bicyclists
The warm summer weather is a great time to get on your bicycle. Between people taking a leisurely bike ride around town and individuals getting their exercise on a long road bike excursion, you will most likely be sharing the road with a lot of bicyclists. Make sure you are always checking your blind spot to make sure you don’t hit a bicyclist that is obscured from your view.
Contact our Bridgeport Car Crash Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in an auto crash caused by the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your damages. Jim Miron has been fighting for the rights of car wreck victims in the Bridgeport area for over 25 years, and he’ll help you hold the negligent driver accountable for your injuries.
Please contact Jim Miron Attorney at Law using the form on this page or call 203-339-5991 today to schedule a complimentary consultation. We serve clients in Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford and the surrounding areas of Connecticut.