Summer is here, and many people are thinking of traveling. These travel plans may include a getaway to another state, or a simple visit to a different town; however, safe driving is crucial no matter for where the trip is planned. This includes preparing for an emergency, practicing defensive driving, and staying cautious around road construction. Since summer involves more time spent on the road, it is crucial that drivers are extra cautious. This ultimately helps a driver prevent the medical bills, vehicular damage, and lost wages related to a car accident.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a medical emergency that occurs when an individual has a higher than normal core body temperature. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), heat stroke begins to occur when the body’s core temperature is at least 104 degrees.
According to WebMD, heat stroke symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Lack of sweating
- Loss of consciousness
Those left in a hot vehicle are highly susceptible to heat stroke. In fact, 52 children died of vehicular heat stroke in 2019, according to the NHTSA. It is important to note that a child’s core temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s, making it much easier for a child to die in an idle vehicle. This is especially true for younger children who cannot release themselves from a scorching vehicle, making them highly vulnerable to heat stroke or death.
An idle vehicle left in the heat can reach deadly temperatures quickly. In fact, a study found that an idle vehicle left in 95 degree weather reached an average temperature of 116 degrees after only an hour. Similarly, the dashboard reached an average of 157 degrees after an hour. A parent leaving his or her child in a scorching vehicle could result in the child’s death.
Adding to the dangers is added humidity to the air through breathing. According to experts, breathing out releases humidity into the air. This humidity makes it more difficult for a person to cool down in a hot car. This is because the air will not evaporate sweat as quickly.
Ultimately, heat stroke is highly deadly if left untreated. Children are more susceptible to heat stroke and could die if left in an idle car. This is why it is crucial that parents never leave their children inside of an idle vehicle, especially in hotter months. Those who see a child left in a vehicle should call the police immediately to avoid the negative health effects of a heat stroke.
Is Distracted Driving Common in the Summer?
When a driver is distracted, his or her attention is elsewhere while behind the wheel. This inattentiveness may cause a driver to crash, leading to severe injuries or even fatalities. Staying alert while driving can prevent a dangerous distracted driving accident.
An individual can find many ways to drive distracted. Some distracting activities include listening to music, talking to a passenger, grooming, eating, drinking, or texting while driving. A driver’s thoughts can also be a distraction, leading to a higher likelihood of a car accident that results in injuries, medical bills, vehicular damage, and lost wages.
Distracted driving is negligent driving. All drivers have a duty to maintain a certain level of care when behind the wheel. When a driver chooses to participate in a negligent behavior, he or she can injure others. This is especially true for teen drivers who are still getting used to the road. In fact, a study from the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that six out of 10 severe teen crashes resulted from a distraction. This statistic proves how important it is to always be alert while driving.
Can Road Construction Cause an Accident?
Summertime brings long days and warm weather. This is why there is more construction on the highways during the summer months. Road maintenance is important; however, it can often lead to heavy traffic jams. This is because construction teams may block off highway lanes or major roads to repair any winter damage.
Heavy traffic is often a burden for drivers in a rush; however, it is important that those behind the wheel practice patience. Although traffic is frustrating, speeding or cutting other drivers off could end up hurting construction workers.
Another thing to note is that navigating through construction zones is often dangerous for drivers. Drivers often have to drive through narrow roads with plenty of obstacles. These obstacles include concrete barricades, poor surfaces, and a lack of a road shoulder. In areas were construction is taking place, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration encourages drivers to stay alert, merge when necessary and safe, and slow down.
Should I Check My Tires in the Summer?
When navigating during the summer heat, it is important to keep an eye on a vehicle’s tires. Tires are the only part of the vehicle that touches the road; therefore, it is the most important part of the car to maintain during the summer months. Though normal wear and tear occurs during every season, the heat during the summer months puts a more aggressive wear on the tires. It is important to know the signs of a tire that is more susceptible of a blow-out. Some of these signs include cracking, bulging, and breaking in the tread
There are many steps one can take to avoid initial or further damage to tires. Before any trip, drivers should check tire tread depth, inflation, and the overall condition of the tires.
Watch Out for Pedestrians
Many individuals take advantage of the hot weather in the summer months. One way to do this is to ride a bicycle or take long walks. Drivers must be cautious while driving in areas with high amounts of pedestrians and bicyclists. This is especially true in cities or beach towns when the population soars.
One way to practice safe driving around these vulnerable individuals is to drive slowly and to watch out for pedestrian crosswalks. Drivers should also look out for bikers before passing vehicles. Finally, drivers should avoid all distractions and stay alert when driving in these areas. This could help prevent a disastrous accident.
Pedestrians and bicyclists should also take active steps to avoid accidents. Unfortunately, when a pedestrian accident happens, it often leads to severe injuries or even fatalities. It is important that pedestrians look both ways before crossing the street, even if they have the right-of-way. Cyclists should use proper hand signals to indicate a turn and ride in designated bike lanes or on sidewalks when possible.
How Can I Stay Safe While Driving?
It is important to practice safe driving habits at all times. During the summer months, people are more likely to be out and about, and it is important to be safe.
Some of the most common ways to be safe when driving in the summer include the following:
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Follow posted speed limits and other signs.
- Do not drink alcohol and drive.
- Get plenty of rest before driving any long distances.
- Perform proper maintenance on vehicles.
If an accident does occur, contact an experienced lawyer right away.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Car Safety During the Summer
If you have car accident-related injuries, one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help you. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our lawyers understand the burden injuries can place on victims and their families. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we proudly serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.