Many San Diego residents decide to take vacations during the summer months, but traffic collisions can occur without warning. Whether you’re a weekend getaway or a family vacation is in your future, it’s important to think about highway safety. To be sure, a recent article from CNN emphasized that, beginning with Memorial Day, May through August are among the busiest road travel months of the year. As such, it’s important to stay cautious when you’re behind the wheel and to do everything you can to prevent a fatal car accident.
Vacation Travel on the Highway
On the Memorial Day holiday alone, AAA estimates that about 33 million Americans take a trip that involves road travel. Indeed, the weekend “brings the start of the summer driving season” to our country, including to the scenic highways of California. At the same time, however, “between now and Labor Day can be one of the most dangerous times of the year to be behind the wheel.” As a result, it’s essential to think about safety matters.
One of the most important actions you and your family can take is, simply, to buckle up when you’re in an automobile. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more Americans than ever are using seat belts. Indeed, “Seat belt use reached an all-time high of 87 percent in 2013.” Yet many California residents still need a reminder to wear their seat belts. Nearly 50 percent of all Americans who died in car accidents last year weren’t buckled up.
In addition to wearing a seat belt, it’s also important to think carefully about your teenager’s driving experience. While a lot of teenagers in San Diego hope to take road trips once school lets our, “inexperience can put them at greater risk for accidents.” If you are going to allow your teenager to get behind the wheel this summer for a trip with friends, you should remind him or her about the dangers of distracted driving with the following rules:
- Don’t use a smartphone in the car;
- Limit the number of passengers in your teen’s vehicle; and
- No nighttime driving.
Summer also tends to mean more roadside construction. It’s easier for construction crews to do some of the necessary repairs to our highways, and as such it’s essential to drive slowly in construction zones. Construction can also lead to detours, and you’ll need to stay alert to avoid getting lost or causing an accident.
Safety Tips for Long Drives and Road Trips
In addition to general safety tips for summertime driving, you should also consider particular issues that can arise on road trips and longer highway stints. An article in Independent Traveler provides some important tips for long hauls on the road:
- Make sure to get enough sleep before you hit the road.
- Take breaks and pull over, even if you don’t think you’re tired.
- Share the drive with other reliable adults.
- Don’t break cell phone laws in other states—know the laws before you set out, and don’t get distracted by using a smartphone while you’re on the road.
- Don’t drink alcohol before your road trip.
- Have a plan for inclement weather, including potential detours.
- Always bring a map, as GPS devices aren’t infallible.
- Have your vehicle tuned up before you get on the road.
- Become a member of AAA or another roadside assistance program.
If you or someone you love recently sustained a serious injury in an auto accident, it’s important to discuss your situation with an experienced San Diego car accident attorney. Depending on the specific facts of your case, you may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation.
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