The Dangers of Summertime Driving in Florida
Summer is statistically the deadliest time of the year to be on the roadways. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the highest number of traffic-related fatalities happen between the months of July and September. There is also a sharp increase in accidents with serious injuries during the summer months.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) recently launched its Safe Summer Travel campaign to help raise awareness and combat the dangers of summer driving in the Sunshine State. Their message is simple, “slow down, stay cool, and obey all the speed limits.”
What makes summer driving so dangerous in Florida? There are several reasons why the roads become more hazardous during the summer months:
Increased Traffic Congestion
For a lot of reasons, summer means far more traffic on the roads. With kids on summer vacation, families do a lot more traveling throughout the state, visiting well-known family destinations such as Disneyworld and Universal Studios, as well as attending numerous concerts, festivals, and other events that are held throughout the state. Add in road construction and the fact that there is a vast increase in motorcyclists and bicyclists in the summertime, and you end up with highly congested roadways. When you drive in Florida during the summer, you need to be patient and plan for the fact that heavy traffic will be a regular part of your journey.
More Inexperienced Drivers on the Road
With teens out of school, they have a lot more time on their hands. Much of that time is spent out driving to parties and going other places. As a group, teens are far more vulnerable to motor vehicle crashes than drivers in other age groups. They are less experienced and more prone to make poor driving decisions, and this has become more of a problem in recent years because of the growing use of smartphones. Parents should be proactive in making sure their teens are driving responsibly and not engaging in dangerous behaviors such as texting while driving.
More Chemically Impaired Drivers on the Road
Many of the festivals, parties, and other events mentioned earlier involve a high amount of alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, individuals who attend these events often make the ill-advised and sometimes fatal decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, and they also tend to make very poor driving decisions. This puts themselves and those they share the roads with in greater danger. If you are planning to drink, always have a plan to avoid driving. Rent a motel/hotel room nearby the party, contact a cab or rideshare company, have a friend come and pick you up – whatever it takes to ensure that you and everyone else stays safe.
Greater Risk of Tire Blowouts
The Florida summer heat has a negative effect on tires. Hot weather causes the air in your tires to expand, which can cause a tire blowout. This is especially common during “heat waves” – strings of consecutive days when the temperature exceeds 90 or even 100 degrees – which are common in Florida this time of year. Motorists should always have their tires and their engines checked before going on any trips to help prevent tire blowouts and other types of mechanical failures.
Heat Exhaustion can Affect Driving
Driving during the summer heat can cause motorists to become tired and fatigued. And this is made worse if your air conditioning suddenly goes out when you are on a road trip. The heat presents risks to both drivers and passengers. Drivers who become fatigued and drowsy have slower reaction times, and they are more susceptible to falling asleep behind the wheel. They can also become more irritable because of the heat, resulting in more incidents of aggressive driving and road rage. For young passengers and pets, there is the risk of being left alone for too long in a hot car. Always get plenty of rest before driving, stay hydrated while on the road, and never leave your children or pets in the car alone for more than a few minutes.
Injured in an Auto Accident in Florida? Obtain Experienced Legal Counsel
Even when you exercise the best safety practices during the Florida summer driving season, preventable accidents and severe injuries can still happen because of the negligence or reckless actions of others. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, speak with a skilled personal injury attorney right away, so you can review your legal rights and options.
At Whibbs Stone & Barnett, we have successfully represented individuals injured in auto accidents in Florida for many years. Our attorneys have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and we fight hard to ensure that our clients are fairly compensated for their injuries, and that those responsible are held fully accountable.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at 1-888-219-4561. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.