The 100 days between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September are sometimes referred to as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. Car accidents across the United States rise during this time, especially among teenage drivers.
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety, deaths among teenage drivers between 16 to 19 years old increase by 16 percent each day in the summer versus other times of the year. Studies by the safety advocacy group, We Save Lives, show that during this 100-day summer period, 260 teenagers lose their lives each month, which is a 26 percent increase compared to other months of the year. This includes both teenage drivers and their passengers.
What Factors Contribute to the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?
There are various reasons why teenagers have more car accidents in the summer. The list below contains information about the main causes of teen-related accidents in the summer.
More Time to Drive
Most teenage drivers are out of school for the summer. That gives them more time to be on the streets both during the day and at night. Since they are less experienced, more teen-related accidents will occur during the summer months.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents among teenage drivers. The three main categories of distractions include:
- Visual: Taking eyes off the road.
- Manual: Taking hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: Taking the mind off driving.
Common teenage driver distractions include the following:
- Talking and texting on a cellphone.
- Bantering or laughing with other passengers in the vehicle.
- Trying to retrieve an item in the car while driving.
- Taking pictures with a cellphone.
- Adjusting the navigational device or entering data into the system while driving.
- Glancing down frequently to read directions or texts.
- Fiddling with the temperature or radio controls.
- Playing music too loudly.
- Loud or rowdy passengers.
- Eating and drinking.
Speeding and Reckless Driving
Teenagers often feel as if they are invincible. Sometimes, they want to impress their friends. Other times, they simply overlook the basics of safe driving. Whatever the reason, speeding and reckless driving cause a large number of teenage driving accidents. Reckless driving can include tailgating, not using turn signals, weaving in and out of traffic, changing lanes improperly, trying to pass, and other violations.
Not Using Seat Belts
Many teenage drivers do not want to or they forget to buckle up. Injuries and deaths from an accident increase when a person is not restrained by their seat belt. Before driving, all occupants in the vehicle should have their seat belts fastened securely.
Impaired driving frequently happens among teenage motorists. Inexperienced drivers under the influence are a danger to themselves and others. If a driver plans to drink on a night out, they should arrange for a ride home ahead of time.
Summer is road construction season as well, which can cause delays, lane closures, yields, merges, detours, and traffic back-ups. Any of these conditions can be confusing and difficult for an inexperienced teenage driver to navigate.
Heat and humidity can cause various car troubles, including overheated engines and overinflated/underinflated tires. An inexperienced teenage driver may not know what to do when their vehicle starts acting up or when a tire causes a blowout or steering problems.
More Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Everyone wants to spend more time outdoors in the summer, including pedestrians and bicyclists, but this also increases car accidents. Teenagers may not be experienced enough to share the road with those not in a vehicle. In addition, blind spots may be new to a teenage driver. Motorcycles also require extra vigilance by teenagers who may not see them or know how to drive with them.
Weather and Road Conditions
An inexperienced motorist may not know how to adjust their driving for the weather conditions or when to pull over and stop driving. Summer thunderstorms, unexpected downpours, tropical storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes can wreak danger on the roads for teenage drivers who may not know the correct course of action.
More people on the roadways in the summer increases the potential for accidents. Teenage drivers often do not have the skills to navigate heavily traveled roads and traffic congestion.
How can Teenagers Stay Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?
Teenagers and their parents should set ground rules together for driving in the summer or any other time of the year:
- Always set the cellphone to Do Not Disturb mode while driving.
- No more than one other passenger in the car.
- Program the navigation system before heading out.
- No driving after a specific time at night.
- Never drink and drive. It is a crime that can alter the rest of their lives. Inform them about the consequences of drinking and driving, which include injuries, deaths, possible jail time, and a criminal record.
- Should drinking happen, teenagers should call their parents or a rideshare service. As a parent, permit them to call for a ride.
- Do not get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.
- Wear a seat belt and require passengers to wear theirs as well.
- Teenagers should avoid speeding, and they should always follow the rules of the road.
- Drive cautiously in congestion, construction, and adverse weather.
- Contact a lawyer after a collision.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Injured Drivers During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer
A car accident in the summer can be physically, financially, and emotionally devastating. The knowledgeable Delaware car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow help victims of negligent drivers. Call us at (302) 427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation about your summer car accident case. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we proudly assist clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.