According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the incidence of traffic accidents increases during the summer months. For those of us behind the wheel on New England’s snow-covered, icy roads in the winter, this may come as a surprise.
Reasons may include:
- An increase in traffic due to summer travelers.
- Drivers who are unfamiliar with the areas they are visiting.
- More motorcyclists, bicyclists and foot traffic on or near roads.
- Hydroplaning on slick, post-summer-storm roads.
Rules and reminders
To protect yourself and others from becoming a personal injury statistic while summer road-tripping, drive defensively. This includes:
- Not using your cell phone. Keep it out of reach to avoid temptation. If you must take a call, use a hands-free device. This isn’t just good advice; it’s the law in many states.
- Programming your GPS before you head out, and using the audio feature for directions. If you must change course mid-trip, find a safe place to pull over to reprogram, or have a passenger do it.
- Keeping your volume down. While it’s fine to sing along to your road trip playlist, remember that your ears are as important as your eyes while driving. You need to be able to hear sirens, horns and more.
- Never drinking and driving. There are lots of better options: a designated driver, calling a friend to pick you up, getting a cab, Uber, or Lyft.
Even if you’re not behind the wheel
In addition to drivers, there’s an increase in roadside traffic as well, including runners, walkers, skateboarders and bikers. Vigilance will also help you stay safe, so the same rules of the road listed above also apply to you. In addition:
- Bicyclists should travel in the same direction as traffic and follow the same rules for stopping, signaling, yielding, etc. Walkers and runners, if a sidewalk is not available, should travel against the flow of traffic.
- Wear light, reflective clothing, especially if you are out at dusk or later. Consider lights and reflectors for added visibility.
- Invest in appropriate safety gear, such as a bike helmet for cyclists and the appropriate pads for skateboarders.
If you do find yourself seriously injured in a vehicle accident, you may find yourself overwhelmed by medical and insurance considerations. But if the accident was due to someone else’s negligence, consider hiring an attorney experienced in personal injury law. Don’t go it alone. Give us a call and we’ll help you determine the next steps.