People look forward to the summertime, when temperatures are warmer, youngsters and teachers are off from school, and vacation time rolls around. Everyone deserves some time to relax and have fun, but it is important for young drivers, their parents, and caregivers to be extra vigilant about driving. May 15 through August 15 are known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer because during this time, teenage drivers are 25 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident. There is considerable data to back up this claim, so it helps to be especially vigilant during the summer driving months.
What Does the Data Show?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that even under regular circumstances, drivers ages 20 and under are three times more likely to get into accidents than the rest of the population. Car accidents are also the leading cause of fatalities for teens ages 16 to 19. Therefore, what makes May 15 through August 15 more dangerous for them?
The biggest reason for the increase in car accidents during those months is apparent; teens are out of school, and there are more of them out on the roads. In addition, fewer people are out driving in the winter months when it is colder out; they take more road trips and vacations in the spring and summer. Teens who are glued to their cell phones often text while driving as well; one out of three admit that they do this. They also take their eyes off the road when talking on their phones, emailing, and using social media.
Although phone use while driving is a major contributing factor to accidents, engaging with other passengers is as well. It can be seen as a form of peer pressure; having a rowdy group of friends in the car easily takes a teen driver’s attention away from the task at hand. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) adds that these drivers are two-and-a-half times likelier to engage in risky driving behaviors with one teenaged peer in the vehicle; this jumps to three times more likely with multiple passengers. Other contributing factors to teen driving accidents include listening to loud music, not wearing seat belts, and speeding.
How Can I Get Ready for Safe Summer Driving?
The rules for safe driving apply to all four seasons and drivers of all ages. Parents and caregivers can make the effort to talk with their teens about the higher risk during this time of year and take the same precautions themselves. The first precaution is obvious: Seat belts need to be worn at all times by drivers and passengers. Close to half of teenage drivers do not wear them, even though they are taught to do so when learning how to drive.
Like so many adults, teenagers can get addicted to their mobile phones and use them when behind the wheel. It is easy to put phones on do not disturb, and this is a life-saving habit to start practicing when young. If you see a car going very slowly, weaving in and out of lanes, or stopped at a green light, it is likely that the driver is using their phone, so keep you distance when you see this happening.
More Tips for Safe Summer Driving
Driving at night can be especially dangerous in the summer for young, inexperienced drivers. That is why the state of Maryland restricts licensed teen drivers under the age of 18 from driving between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. unless they have a licensed driver with them who is at least 21, with a minimum three years of driving experience. These wee hours are when the risks of drowsy drunk driving accidents skyrocket, so it is safest to avoid the roads during these times. Parents can tell their teen drivers that they will pick them up with no questions asked or encourage them to use a ride share service.
Summer is also the time for road and highway construction work, and resultant construction zones with decreased speed limits. These lead to increased congestion, frustrated drivers, and a higher risk for accidents. Using a GPS can direct you around these zones, but GPS systems are not always reliable. When approaching the zones, follow the signs and slow down appropriately. It can certainly be aggravating, but when construction zones cannot be avoided, it makes the most sense to just relax and resign yourself to the fact that you might be late. Driving aggressively could save you a few minutes, but the likelihood of getting into an accident increases dramatically.
What Should I Know about Car Accident Laws in Maryland?
Regarding car accidents, the state of Maryland has a few laws of which every licensed driver in the state should be aware. The first is the contributory negligence rule; if a driver is found to have contributed even slightly to a collision, they will not be able to receive any compensation from the other driver. Most states do not abide by this law, but Maryland does. Claims adjusters make their decisions based on what happens in court, and state judges and juries are bound by this law. This can put you at a disadvantage, so it is never a good idea to admit fault if you believe that this is the case. You could be wrong, but your statement could come back to haunt you later.
The other thing of which to be aware is Maryland’s statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit to court. The limit for filing a car accident lawsuit is three years after the date it occurs; in other words, you must file your initial complaint within that time. For wrongful death lawsuits, the deadline is three years after the date of the person’s death.
These rules can make it harder to pursue auto accident settlements and lawsuits, but it does not mean that you have no chance of making a successful case. Many car accident lawyers offer free consultations, and this is the best way to get legal advice about making these kinds of claims.
National Harbor Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Offer Assistance for People Involved in Serious Car Accidents
It can be hard to think clearly after a car accident and to remember exactly how it happened afterwards, especially when it comes to determining fault. If you are seeking trustworthy, reliable legal guidance for a car accident claim, look no further than the National Harbor car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our respected legal team offers free consultations that can help you through this trying time. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with 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.