How can I Avoid a Car Wreck Over Memorial Day Weekend?April 30, 2021
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season, which means significantly more motorists will be hitting the road to celebrate the beginning of summer and spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holiday weekend is also the beginning of the period of time known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, owing to the spike in car wrecks that occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Teen drivers are at particular risk of being involved in a serious car wreck because of a range of factors, including their inexperience behind the wheel and their tendency to become easily distracted. Motorists can avoid car wrecks over Memorial Day weekend by following the rules of the road and making safety a top priority. However, if an accident is caused by another driver who is engaging in negligent behavior, the injured party is urged to contact an experienced car wreck lawyer as soon as possible.
What Safety Tips Should I Keep in Mind During Summer Travel?
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were over 400 traffic fatalities during the Memorial Day holiday last year and over 46,000 injuries. Although there are some things that motorists cannot control, including inclement weather conditions, heavy traffic, and how other people drive, they can follow the rules of the road and avoid dangerous driving behavior such as drunk driving and distracted driving. By keeping the following safety tips in mind over the Memorial Day holiday, motorists can help prevent a serious, potentially fatal car wreck:
- Do not drink and drive. Memorial Day weekend brings people together for parties, barbecues, and other outdoor celebrations. Oftentimes, beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are served at these get-togethers, whether it is a large party or a small family gathering. Too often, people get behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol. Car wrecks caused by drunk drivers often result in serious, yet entirely preventable, personal injury. In some cases, they involve tragic fatalities. Motorists are strongly urged to avoid drinking if they are driving or arrange for a designated driver.
- Avoid distracted driving. Distracted driving is another very common cause of car wrecks, particularly among teen drivers. Texting and talking on the phone is one of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents, with texting being one of the most alarming. Sending a text takes a motorist’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. When traveling at a speed of 55 mph, that is comparable to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded. Like drunk driving accidents, car wrecks caused by distracted driving are preventable if the motorist keeps his or her attention focused on the road at all times.
- Get plenty of sleep. Motorists who are awake for 18 consecutive hours or more can experience impairments that are similar to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent. Drowsy drivers are also more likely to become distracted. Motorists should always get enough sleep, particularly if they are going on a long road trip or are driving through the night. If the driver starts yawning, rubbing their eyes, or showing any other signs of drowsiness, they should pull over to a safe spot, get some fresh air or a bite to eat, or take a short nap. If there are other licensed drivers in the car, they can share the driving and allow the drowsy driver to rest.
- Wear a seat belt. This is one of the most effective things a motorist can do to save his or her life or reduce the severity of injuries resulting from a serious car wreck. Yet, some motorists fail to wear a seat belt when they drive. Considering the rise in car wrecks over Memorial Day weekend, it is that much more important to buckle up when traveling over the holiday weekend. This includes the driver and all other passengers in the vehicle.
- Inspect the vehicle before a road trip. It is highly recommended that motorists conduct a bumper-to-bumper inspection of the vehicle to ensure that it is in good working condition, that the tire pressure is adjusted, and that all fluids are topped off. A skilled mechanic can determine whether other issues need to be addressed or if repairs need to be made.
- Keep an emergency kit in the car. As the temperatures rise, vehicles can overheat, tire blowouts can occur, or the car’s battery could die. These, and other scenarios such as inclement weather or an accident, can cause the vehicle to break down. If this happens, having a well-stocked emergency kit in the car can help keep motorists safe until help arrives. Emergency kits should include the following items:
– Bottled water
– Flashlight with extra batteries
– Extra blankets
– Non-perishable snacks
– Emergency flares or reflectors
– Extra warm clothing
Who is at the Greatest Risk of Being in a Car Wreck Over Memorial Day?
The more vehicles there are on the roads, the greater the risk of a serious car wreck. According to AAA, approximately 43 million Americans traveled over the 2019 Memorial Day weekend. Although the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused many people to refrain from traveling last summer, road trips will likely be on the rise again this year, thanks to the number of people who have been vaccinated. The number of travelers this summer may not be as high as the summer of 2019, but it is likely that there will be more motorists traveling this year compared with last year. Unfortunately, the drivers who are at the greatest risk of being involved in a serious accident are teen drivers:
- Car wrecks are the leading cause of death among teens.
- Teen drivers have a higher crash rate compared with any other age group.
- Sixty percent of car wrecks involving teen drivers are caused by distracted driving.
- An average of 260 teen drivers are fatally injured during each month of the summer. This is a 26 percent increase compared with the other months of the year.
- The top distraction among teen drivers is other passengers in the vehicle, with texting and talking on the phone coming in at a close second.
- Teen drivers are more likely to suffer fatal injuries if they are involved in a car wreck. They also have the highest rate of accidents that result in the deaths of other passengers, pedestrians, and other motorists.
How Should I Prepare My Car for Summer Travel?
AAA urges all motorists to ensure that their car is maintained before taking any summer road trips. The following checklist will help motorists make sure that their vehicle is in good working order and that any necessary repairs are made before the holiday weekend:
- Check the tire pressure. When the temperature changes, the air pressure inside the wheels can fluctuate. The tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure, which is listed in the owner’s manual or on the sticker of the driver side door jamb.
- Have the brakes checked. If the car owner hears a grinding sound or feels a vibration when applying the brakes, they should make an appointment with a service professional who will check the brake pads, rotors, shoes, and drums. In addition, if there are any fluid leaks, the service technician will make the necessary repairs.
- Test the car battery. Either the car owner or a service professional can check the battery’s cables to ensure that they are tightly connected and that the hold down hardware is secure. A service professional can also confirm the battery’s remaining capacity and determine whether the battery should be replaced.
- Check the vehicle’s fluids. Drivers should make sure that all of the vehicle’s fluids are at the correct level, including engine oil, coolant and brake fluid, and transmission and power steering fluids, and that the recommended products are used.
- Replace wiper blades. All wiper blades will begin to deteriorate over time. When the wipers begin to streak or are no longer effective at clearing the windshield, the wipers should be replaced. The windshield washer reservoir should be filled with fluid that is formulated to remove debris such as insects, pollen, and bird droppings.
- Check belts and hoses. Drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles. If hoses are worn, brittle, bulging, or excessively soft, they should be replaced.
- Test the air conditioning. Before taking a road trip, motorists should turn the air conditioning on while driving. If there is a decrease in cooling capacity, the air conditioning system and the cabin filter should be checked.
Baltimore Car Wreck Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Memorial Day Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident over the Memorial Day holiday, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car wreck lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. Unfortunately, too many motorists engage in unsafe driving behavior over the holiday weekend, which can result in devastating car wrecks. If the other driver involved in the accident was negligent in any way, we will hold that person liable for your injuries and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are conveniently located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.