Memorial Day is right around the corner, and people across the Golden State are getting ready for summer. Here in Southern California, the warm-weather activities are already underway – at private residences, public beaches, amusement parks, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, with everyone hitting the road to their favorite summertime destinations, we are sure to see an increase in traffic accidents and injuries.
The good news is that many of the risks associated with summer driving are avoidable. A little forethought and common sense go a long way when it comes to traffic safety, especially since the same dangers are present every season. With that in mind, the vehicle accident lawyers at Neale & Fhima offer the following five tips to help keep drivers safe this year.
1) Avoid peak drive times and road construction.
Have you ever tried driving through downtown Laguna Beach on a Saturday afternoon in July? How about heading up Highway 99 when Caltrans is conducting summertime road work? Traffic congestion is not just inconvenient, it also increases the likelihood of multi-car accidents. Reduce your chances of being involved in a wreck by scheduling your drive times and routes to avoid traffic. Public transportation, like Southern California’s Metrolink, is also a smart choice. Beginning this month, you can even bring your surfboard on the train.
2) Road trip? Inspect your vehicle first.
In his 1962 State of the Union Address, President John F. Kennedy famously said, “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” He could just as easily have chosen vehicle maintenance as his metaphor. There is no reason to wait until you are broken down on the side of the road to start checking fluids and hoses. Do it at home before you leave. Better yet, take your vehicle to a certified mechanic for a pre-trip inspection.
3) Be aware of drivers from out of town.
Californians share the road with millions of tourists every summer. Because these visitors are not accustomed to driving here, they are more likely to make a mistake behind the wheel. This long-held hypothesis – that drivers on unfamiliar roads are more likely to get into an accident – has now been confirmed by a study published by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. So, watch for those out-of-state license plates and use defensive driving techniques when necessary.
4) Obey crosswalk and bike lane rules.
Vehicles collide with pedestrians and bicyclists far too often in our communities. Consider these 2016 fatality statistics compiled by the California Highway Patrol:
|County in California||Number of fatal vehicle/pedestriancollisions||Number of fatal vehicle/bicycle collisions|
Summertime means more people walking and biking along our streets. Drivers should anticipate their presence and obey the traffic rules designed to protect them.
5) Never drive intoxicated – no matter what.
Many Californians choose to enjoy an alcoholic beverage when gathering with friends. Given that people tend to socialize more in the summer, it stands to reason that alcohol consumption would increase this time of year. But drinking responsibly is one thing. Driving while intoxicated is something else entirely. According to the latest data, during the primary summer holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day), an average of 36 percent of fatal traffic accidents involve impaired driving. Help combat the problem by driving only when sober and by encouraging your loved ones to do the same.
Safety advocates often refer to summertime in California as “trauma season.” We encourage you to make an extra effort to stay safe on the roads this year, and if you fall victim to the carelessness of another driver, our personal injury attorneys are ready to assist.