The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer refers to the time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It is when the average number of fatal teen-related car accidents rises, and other motorists are at risk as well. The following information explains more about the increased hazards drivers face during the summer months and how to stay safe while out on the roads.
The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer because students are out of school and teenage drivers have more time available to drive. These new and inexperienced drivers may also drink or do drugs together in the summer and get back in their cars to go home. Teenage drivers are in the highest risk group for accidents, and teenagers who are between 16 and 19 years old are three times more likely than their peers who are 20 years old and older to be involved in a deadly crash. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), approximately 1,000 people are killed in accidents involving teenage drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.
Common causes of teen-related accidents include:
- Drowsy driving.
- Speeding and drag racing.
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating.
- Distracted driving, such as talking to passengers, texting, using social media and music streaming services, making videos, and taking pictures.
- Running stop signs or red lights.
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of illegal substances.
Increased Traffic and Road Construction
Other summer hazards that contribute to the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer include an increased amount of traffic and construction on the roads. The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer coincides with three American holidays that are popular times for road trips: Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. All three are long weekends when millions of Americans travel to see friends and family. These drivers may be tired from traveling, unfamiliar with the roads they are navigating, and may be leaving holiday gatherings after consuming alcohol.
Construction projects can be hazardous for drivers and are often scheduled in summer months. The number of open lanes may be reduced or lanes may be rerouted. Roads may be closed and detours posted. Cones may be used to mark off a work area, leaving a narrow lane for drivers. All of these modifications can cause confusion and accidents, especially when drivers decide to speed through construction zones.
Motorcycles, Bikes, and Pedestrian Hazards
Drivers of passenger vehicles are not the only ones who want to enjoy the summer weather. The sunshine brings out motorcyclists and bicyclists, which adds to the number of hazards drivers need to watch out for. Bikes and motorcycles can be hidden in a car’s blind spot or appear seemingly out of nowhere because of their slim shape.
What would be a minor accident between passenger vehicles can cause life threatening injuries to a motorcyclist or biker. Drivers must also be extra vigilant in summer, and they should check carefully for pedestrians and joggers.
How can I Stay Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?
There are many steps drivers can do to stay safe this summer, including:
- Speak to teenage drivers. Anyone who knows a teenage driver should encourage them to never drink and drive, stay focused while behind the wheel, and put away cellphones, drive the speed limit, and only drive when fully rested. Talking about driver safety helps teenagers remember and assimilate all the information they have been taught. Parents of teenagers should lead by example and demonstrate good driving behaviors at all times.
- Motorists need to slow down in construction zones. A construction zone is full of heavy machinery and workers. Usually, the road has been reconfigured in some way while it is being worked on and has a temporary slower speed limit posted at the beginning of the work zone. Obeying the speed limit is the easiest way to avoid an accident.
- Designate a sober driver. When attending parties or meeting friends at a bar, be sure to arrange for a safe ride home. Either designate a driver who will be sober, take public transportation, or call a taxi or rideshare service.
- Always drive defensively. Since teenage drivers spend more time on the roads during the summer months, motorists should be extra careful and drive defensively. This means leaving plenty of following distance and allowing enough time to get to a destination without having to speed. Be vigilant about checking for recreational motorcyclists, bicyclists, joggers, and pedestrians.
- Perform summer maintenance. Driver should check their car to ensure there will not be an accident due to an overheated engine or blown out tire.
What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident?
A serious car accident can be a traumatic event, and to avoid the instinct to panic, it is important to know what to do when a driver finds themselves in that situation. The steps taken at the car accident scene can have a large impact on the success of any claim that is filed later.
The most important steps include checking both drivers and any passengers for injuries and calling 9-1-1 for emergency services. If it is possible and safe to do so, the accident vehicles should be moved out of the path of traffic. Calling the police is important because it creates an official report of the accident. The other driver may ask to resolve the situation privately without the help of the police, but this is not advisable. When talking with the other driver or with the police, do not admit fault in the accident or apologize. Give a brief and factual statement to the police about what happened.
Document the accident scene as much as possible. This includes taking photographs or videos of any injuries to vehicle occupants, damage to the vehicles and/or surrounding property, the road conditions, such as potholes or debris, weather conditions, and skid marks. If there are any eyewitnesses, get their contact information and record their accounts of what they saw.
Call the insurance company and report the accident after medical care has been administered and the scene has been cleared. It is also advisable to contact a reputable lawyer after a collision.
What are My Rights in Virginia?
In Virginia, an injured car accident victim has two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit against the person who caused it. The statute of limitations for damage to the vehicle or other property is five years. In the case of a fatal accident, a claim for wrongful death must be brought within two years of the day of the accident victim’s death.
Virginia is one of the few states that uses the principal of contributory negligence to determine compensation and liability. This means that if a driver is responsible in any way for the accident, they may not receive any compensation for their injuries or property damage. The insurance company will also take this approach and be reluctant to reimburse a driver in Virginia who has caused any part of an accident. It may be necessary to engage an experienced lawyer to advocate for one’s rights after a collision.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Advocate for Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers in the Summer
There are many hazards that drivers will face on Memorial Day weekend. If you have been injured in an accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver, contact a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer right away. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced and compassionate team will investigate your case and fight to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Call us at 757-352-2237 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.