-Written by Erik Sargent
Summertime means spending time outside in the sun, doing everything from going to the beach, to swimming, grilling, and relaxing. It’s a wonderful time of year, but despite the nice weather and increased fun, one sad reality often goes under the radar – road safety.
While most people would assume that driving during the winter months with snow and bad weather would be the worst time, it’s actually the warm summer months that create the most hazardous driving conditions for the average person. This can be attributed to many factors, and it’s important to realize the risk of summertime driving.
“Summer is the most hazardous time of year for driving,” said Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. “July and August are the deadliest months, with an average of 116 people killed on the roads every day during this time frame.”
Rader and the IIHS are a nonprofit highway safety research organization funded entirely by automobile insurance companies. Their goal is to do conduct research on driving habits, road conditions, and vehicle safety to assist in their mission of finding ways to reduce crashes and make the roads safer.
“Risks are the same all year round, but the problem with the summer months is there are a lot more vehicles on the road, and people driving more hazardous miles,” Rader said. “By that, I mean driving in the summer for vacations and recreations, sometimes on unfamiliar roads or driving on the weekends. This kind of driving is more dangerous than the daily commute to and from work.”
According to the nationally recognized insurance company ESURANCE, the factors that can increase the dangers of driving during the summertime include more teens being on the road, drivers congesting the roads with vacation trips, roadway construction, and more vehicles and motorcycles being on the roads.
Another unfortunate factor that comes into play with summer driving is the amount of people driving under the influence of alcohol.
The popular automotive site, Cars.com, conducted research in 2014 that showed there were 10,322 alcohol-impaired driving crashes in the summer of 2012, with one drunk-driving fatality occurring every 51 minutes. Similarly with nighttime driving, 35% of fatal nighttime crashes were related to alcohol.
Not getting behind the wheel drunk is just one of many steps that need to be taken by civilians in order to improve the safety of the roads in the summer.
“If everybody buckled up, if everybody obeyed traffic laws like speed limits, and if nobody got behind the wheel drunk, the summer of summer deaths in crashes would be substantially lower,” Rader said. “We see the same patterns over and over in the crashes that happen during the summer. They often involve speeding, drunk driving, and occupants not wearing their safety belts.”
With the increased number of commercial vehicles roaming the roads and highways in big cities, it’s important companies hire safe drivers and make sure they are doing their part to also keep the roadways safe for the public. One company that makes sure it not only finds the best drivers, but also awards them for it, is the international moving company TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.
As it currently stands, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has more than 2,800 trucks on the road throughout their system, with their coverage spanning across 350 plus locations in the United States alone. That’s a lot of miles covered, and it’s important to have the best drivers behind the wheel. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® makes sure to recognize the best drivers in the system with their Safe Driver Award, which is earned by the best drivers in the system.
“TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® recognizes the responsibility drivers carry every time they get behind the wheel,” said TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Risk Management Support Team Lead Shawn Smith. “For that reason, we are pleased to reward those individuals who make it a priority to keep themselves and the public safe.”
Key areas of criteria the company looks for when handing out the award include no preventable accidents, no violations in personal or company vehicles, no driving under the influence convictions for three years, and no “How’s My Driving” complaints.
“The Safe Driver Award was developed to recognize and reward drivers throughout the system who have made a noticeable commitment to keeping themselves, their teammates, and the public safe every time they get behind the wheel,” Smith said.
With populations continuing to increase globally, the economy shifting upward, and the ever-changing landscape of technology, the risk of driving in the summer – and year round – will continue to be prevalent. While there’s way eliminate the risks of the road, you can prevent a lot of trouble by making smart choices.
Making sure you are healthy, making sure you are alert, using the proper safety precautions, and following the rules of the road are just a few things you can do to make sure you’re doing your part in keeping yourself and others safe while driving.
“It’s important to for people to recognize that while crashes during the summer tend to be the most hazardous, crashes happen relentlessly all year round,” Rader said. “People need to take precautions to make sure they are always safe on the road.”