Summer means much more than sunny days and no school; it also means millions of Americans will embark on a quintessential summer road trip to take advantage of free time and lovely weather. In fact, people drive about 20% more miles during summer months.
Road trips are also especially popular in a COVID-19 world, a time when many Americans are apprehensive about being in close contact with strangers.
But taking a summer road trip also means encountering risks on the road. Whether you are a driver, passenger or are simply planning an upcoming road trip this summer, it’s important to know why distracted driving increases in summer months and what you can do to prevent a collision. Keep reading to learn exactly what distracted driving entails and how to enhance your safety.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving can range from rubbernecking and navigating with a GPS, to texting and grooming. “Distracted driving is anything that makes driving a secondary task,” notes Houston car accident lawyer John Ramsey.
There are three categories of distracted driving: visual, cognitive, and manual distractions.
Distracted driving accidents are 100% preventable. By making driving your first and only priority on the road, you can save lives.
Factors that Increase Distracted Driving During Summer
Distracted driving increases during the summer months due to two main factors:
There are More Cars on the Road
An increase in summertime distracted driving as opposed to other seasons can mainly be attributed to the fact there are more miles driven in summer months. According to AAA, Americans drive an average of 30.6 miles daily in the summer months compared to 25.7 miles in winter months.
When looking at compiled fatality data from 1975 to 2002, July has two of the four deadliest days on the road, July 4th and July 3rd, making it one of the most popular and deadliest months to drive. In July of 2019, more than 41 million Americans reported they were planning to hit the road on July 4th weekend.
There are More Inexperienced Drivers on the Road
Another explanation as to why distracted driving increases during summer is due to the influx of inexperienced drivers on the road. With schools closed and the COVID-19 pandemic causing the cancelation of many summer jobs, more teens may gravitate towards the open road than ever before.
In a decade-long study, AAA found “…that for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.” Due to teens’ inexperience behind the wheel, they are at a higher risk of crashes.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving This Summer
Distracted driving accidents are completely preventable for both experienced and inexperienced drivers. To help combat distracted driving, you can employ the following driving safety tips:
- Store loose possessions and other distractions that could roll around in your car
- Set up your navigation system, music, mirrors and air conditioner before hitting the road
- Take care of grooming prior to getting in your car
- Avoid eating while driving by planning breaks for snacks and meals
- Make adjustments to children’s seats and pets only when you are safely off the road
- Have a conversation with passengers about the dangers of distracted driving and enlist their help
Regardless of where this summer may take you, put safety first by combating distracted driving. As a passenger or driver, you can encourage safe driving behavior to keep American roads safe. By doing your part, you can help reduce the number of distracted driving accidents that occur this summer.