Are You Prepared for Summer Driving?

Our Upper Marlboro Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers

Summer’s rising temperatures and longer days beckon most Americans to hit the road and embark on summer adventures. Over 80 percent of adults surveyed in 2023 reported planning road trips during summer months. While the focus may be on fun and celebrations, learning about the driving dangers summer presents and pre-planning can help keep you and your family safe on all your adventures.

While the perils of winter are behind us, the summer season sees the highest number of motorists, temperatures, sudden weather changes, and increased traffic, making it one of the most dangerous seasons for driving. There are 29 percent more fatal car accidents in summer than in winter.

Summer also sees a dramatic increase in the number of teen fatalities. Enough so that the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” Over 955,000 teenage driving accidents occur each year in the United States, resulting in roughly 360,000 serious injuries and 4,000 fatalities. Alcohol consumption, speed, lack of experience, skills, and maturity are factors in the majority of fatal teenage car accidents.

How Should You Prepare Your Vehicle for Summer Driving?

Summer’s heat, weather conditions, and traffic congestion all put tremendous strain on your car, and without proper maintenance and careful planning, could leave you stranded in some dangerous and potentially life-altering situations. The following steps can help you prepare your vehicle for safe summer outings:

  • Prevent overheating: To avoid overheating, make sure you have enough engine coolant, the radiator is unclogged, and the fan is operational.
  • Maintain fluids: Regularly check and top off gas, engine coolant, oil, and washer fluid levels.
  • Check lights: Make sure all lights are functional and operating correctly.
  • Tire pressure: Check tire pressure and inspect for uneven wear, shredding, cuts, gouges, and bulging sidewalls.
  • Text brakes: Replace brakes if you feel vibration or slipping or hear grinding sounds when applying the brakes.
  • Inspect the battery: Ensure the cable connections are clean and tight, the stability hardware is secure, and the battery is tested for capacity.
  • Replace wipers: Replace cracked, dry, or shredded wiper blades before summer’s heavy rains.
  • Check belts: Replace cracked, glazed, or frayed belts on the engine water pump, alternator, and air conditioning compressor.
  • Pack an emergency kit: Carry water, a first aid kit, a flashlight and batteries, flares, rain gear, blankets, a phone charger, non-perishable snacks, and a tool kit.

How Should You Prepare for a Summer Road Trip?

Once your vehicle is in perfect running order, carefully plan your road trip, what you may need when to travel, the best routes, and safety measures while driving. Consider the following when planning your trip or traveling:

  • Travel earlier in the day to avoid the hottest temperatures and traffic congestion.
  • Expect traffic congestion, especially on larger freeways, between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Be alert for more teen drivers.
  • Keep track of nearby motorcycles and check blind spots before merging.
  • Check weather forecasts and avoid driving in storms if possible.
  • Be cautious and follow directions in construction zones, which increase in summer.
  • Increase your distance between vehicles in heavily congested traffic.
  • Prepare for more impaired drivers, especially on weekends.
  • Watch out for wildlife along roads.

Avoid Drinking and Driving

Summer’s many get-togethers and activities involve alcohol consumption. The first week of July is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, with people taking advantage of the holiday weekend to extend vacations. It is also one of the deadliest weeks for car crashes in the United States, largely due to drunk driving.

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that approximately 500 people die in car accidents over the Fourth of July weekend, 40 percent of which involve alcohol. If you plan on consuming alcohol at your holiday celebrations, be responsible and plan a safe evening by designating a sober driver or arranging for a sober ride home. If hosting, provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages, hold onto car keys for impaired friends, and find them a safe ride home.

Our Upper Marlboro Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers

Summer’s sunny days and warm temperatures lead to an increase in traffic, which can quickly turn deadly. If you have been injured in a crash with a negligent driver, our experienced Upper Marlboro car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King can help. Call 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.