Summer brings additional driver safety concerns

Posted in: Construction, Highways

man-driving-with-cell-phone_articleMemorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to the summer driving season. Due to the major increase in travelers, summer is also historically one of the most dangerous seasons for travel. Before you and your family hit the road for summer vacation, take some time to learn about the potential dangers you may face on the road.

Increased roadway construction zones

We are well aware that summer months mean more roadway construction. These work zones are not only a hazard for the construction workers, but for drivers as well. Forty-one percent of car accidents in work zone areas are rear-end collisions according to a 2008 study. Keep an eye out for posted speed limit changes and use extreme caution when driving through posted work zones.

Summer heat is hard on vehicles

From a seasonal standpoint, summer heat is harsh on a vehicle. Hot weather makes the air inside tires expand, and this additional pressure can cause a blowout in well-worn wheels. Additionally, car engines tend to overheat faster in the summer as drivers frequently rely on their air conditioning. Make sure to have an emergency kit, spare tire and a plan in place if you find yourself in one of these situations. Having frequent car inspections will also give you peace of mind.

Teen drivers with more freedom

With Memorial Day ending, we have entered the unofficial “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teens, according to the National Safety Council. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are among the most dangerous for teen drivers who have more free time to travel with friends and drive later at night. An analysis by AAA echoes this same sentiment, citing that summer holds seven of the top 10 deadliest days for teen drivers. To combat teen distracted driving, AAA has provided a number of suggestions for parents and their teens to develop safe driving habits.

Increased distracted driving

Older drivers aren’t off the hook, either. The NSC estimates that cell phone-related crashes have risen steadily for the third year in a row. Crashes caused by irresponsible cell phone use now account for 27 percent of all roadway accidents. I have already mentioned a few tips to help reduce distractions while driving, including driver aid apps and Bluetooth devices.

Keeping our families safe is of the utmost importance. Using safe driving practices and teaching these same principals to our children can lead to a safe, carefree summer.

Mike Ciotola, PE

About the Author

Mike Ciotola, P.E., ASSOC. DBIA, makes sure safety is woven into complex transportation projects. In his more than 25 years of experience, Mike spent 13 years with the Ohio Department of Transportation. He gets the project done, whatever it takes. Mike helps clients design interchange modifications, roundabouts, and other roadway and bridge improvements, including work on multiple Safety Design Task Order contracts. Mike says “Safety is always integral to projects. We improve the quality of people’s lives by helping our clients to design safe roads.”

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