When we think of summer, we tend to think of picnics, barbeques, fishing, swimming, and a lot of other outdoor activities. But did you know the stretch between Memorial Day to Labor Day are the deadliest days of the year? Not due to swimming, camping, or heat stroke. Not bad mayonnaise. It’s driving.
Teen driving fatalities increase 26% in summer months.
As the weather clears and temperatures rise, people are ready for adventure. This means an increase in traffic on our roads and drivers who don’t exactly know where they’re going. Add more passengers into the mix, more conversations, maybe a touch over the speed limit to get to the lake or the beach: it can lead to distracted driving. All it takes is a moment of distraction – missing the sign for an upcoming turn, brake lights on the road ahead – to cause an accident.
A tire blowing at lower speeds can send even the most skilled driver careening out of control. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11,000 accidents occur each year from blown tires, resulting in 200 deaths. As speeds increase, the chances of a fatal wreck due to a blown tire increase drastically. While a blown tire can happen at any time, heat from the road and the friction already generated by the tire put a great deal of stress on tires. The older the tire and the more worn it is, the less stress it can withstand.
Hot weather, poor tires, increased speeds, brake issues, longer days–all add up to greater danger for drivers.
Hot weather also takes a toll on brakes. This is a bigger issue for truckers than it is for passenger cars, due to the difference in vehicular weights. A study completed by the FMCSA states that 29 percent of all accidents by truckers involve issues with the brakes. While those with CDLs frequently drive on roads they are not used to, add in time constraints, a steep grade, and a slip in choosing the right gear – a rollover or wreck is all too common.
The peak shipping season is generally from late May to September, when drivers typically earn their biggest paychecks. Pushing the envelope of fatigue and drive time can lead to increased risk. As fatigue builds up, attention wanes. Sitting behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound machine, it can be downright deadly. Additionally, with an increasing number of less-experienced drivers entering the industry, this is becoming more of an issue.
So keep yourself safe this summer. Pay attention, don’t skip the pre-trip tire and brake checks, and pull over if you’re tired. Keep the shiny side up and enjoy the road.