Memorial Day kicks off the most dangerous season of the year on the road

Encourage your insurance clients to remain vigilant and safe on summer road trips with these summer driving tips. (Photo: Shutterstock) Long daylight hours and better driving conditions may lull drivers into a false sense of safety during summer months­­­­, according to a new survey conducted by Michelin for National Tire Safety Week (May 28‒June 3). Two in three (67 percent) drivers report feeling safer driving during the summertime, citing better road conditions (83 percent) and nicer weather (81 percent) as reasons. 34.6M drivers will hit the road Memorial Day weekend Despite drivers’ self-confidence, Memorial Day commences the most dangerous season of the year on the road, with more auto accidents occurring during summer months than any other time of year, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). More than 34.6 million Americans will hit the road this Memorial Day weekend, the traditional launch of the U.S. summer vacation season, according to AAA. Three-quarters of drivers (74 percent) falsely believe that summer has fewer accidents than other times of the year. Similarly, drivers are three times less likely to be vigilant, (e.g., alert and focused on immediate surroundings) while driving during summer months than during winter. Summer driving mistakes Drivers report other differences in seasonal driving behaviors that suggest reduced vigilance during summer months: Eight in 10 drivers (81 percent) said they were less likely to drive cautiously (e.g., taking extra care with stopping, turning and attention to speed) in the summertime. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they were less likely to pay close attention to other drivers on the road in the summer compared to winter months. Drivers are nearly three times less likely to check the condition of their tires in the summer. Heat is enemy of tires “Drivers tend to think about their tires in the winter, when slippery, icy roads require maximum traction. But heat is the enemy of tires,” said Sarah Robinson, driving safety expert at Michelin. “Some of the most severe tire-related episodes are due to under-inflated tires in summer months.” All drivers are encouraged to remain vigilant and safe on summer road trips with these summer driving tips: Give your car a checkup: Ahead of summer travel season, conduct a safety check of your vehicle to make sure it is in prime condition. Check oil and fluid levels, windshield wipers, headlights and battery ahead of your trip. Check your tires: Check to ensure your tires have sufficient tread with a simple penny test, and check your tire pressure using the manufacturer’s setting found on the driver’s door jamb. Underinflated tires offer less traction, can reduce fuel efficiency, wear out prematurely and, most importantly, suffer unnoticed and irreparable damage that compromises their performance and safety. Don’t forget to check the air in your spare, too. Practice safe following distance: Always be aware of the cars immediately surrounding you, especially those in front. Give yourself enough room to brake or maneuver in an unexpected situation. Focus fully on the road ahead: While on the road, focus fully on driving. Any activities that could divert your attention should be avoided while at the wheel. This includes things like using your phone, snacking, or reaching into the backseat to attend to a child or pet. Carry an emergency kit: Carry an appropriate emergency kit in your car that includes items such as jumper cables, flashlight with extra batteries, reflective triangles, first aid kit, water and non-perishable food items. Program your cell phone in advance with emergency numbers, including that of your roadside assistance provider. Take breaks during long trips: Pull over and take breaks every couple of hours, even if you don’t feel sleepy. Stretching your legs and taking a quick moment to “reset” can help avoid zoning out behind the wheel and keep passengers from getting cabin fever. Related: Death on U.S. roads reach highest since 2007 amid more driving


About John Fagan

John is a Jacksonville native who grew up on the First Coast. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1975 and went to college at Florida State University where he completed a 4-year program in 3 years. John graduated from the Florida State University College of Business in 1978 and went straight into Florida State University College of Law. While in law school, John earned a position on the prestigious Law Review Board serving as its Business Editor. As a law student, John studied in the Oxford program. He also interned with the Florida Legislature working in the Florida House of Representatives Criminal Justice Committee. John was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1981. John began his legal career as a law school intern in the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville in 1981. After his internship, legendary State Attorney Ed Austin hired John as a full-time Assistant State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval, and Nassau Counties). As a prosecutor, John tried jury and non-jury trial on charges ranging from DUI to Murder. In 1983, John moved from the State Attorney's Office to begin his career in private practice. He has practiced law for 30 years on the First Coast. For the last 20 years, John and his family have made Clay County their home. John limits his practice to personal injury and disability cases. While there are many fine attorneys in Clay County, John is one of only a few Clay County attorneys who limit their practice to personal injury and disability cases. John takes pride in helping clients resolve injury claims in ways that avoid the stress, uncertainty, and the expense of unnecessary litigation. Professional Activities John is the past President of the Clay County Bar Association and has served on the Board of the Clay County Bar Association from 2009-2013. He is an active member of the Florida Bar, and the Federal Bar of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. He is also a member of the American Association of Justice, the Florida Association of Justice, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives, and the National Organization of Veterans' Advocates. Service to the Community John is involved in the Clay County Community serving as a member and Director of the Rotary Club of Orange Park, of the Clay County Bar Association, and the Putnam County Bar Association.
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