Why is driving in the summer so dangerous?

Summer brings fair weather and vacations -- so it's no surprise that lots of people head out on the road in their cars. Apparently, it's also the season for distracted driving.

According to statistics, there's a spike in car accident deaths every year from June through August. The increase is an eye-popping 29 percent above the number of accident deaths from December through February.

Why the sharp increase in car accidents and related deaths during the summer?

Researchers say that the increase is largely the result of distracted driving. Data that's been collected from over 20,000 drivers indicates that drivers spend about 15 minutes distracted for every hour they're on the road during the summer.

Why are drivers unusually distracted in the summer?

Researchers aren't sure, but some possibilities include the presence of kids and other family members in the car and the tedium of long trips during vacations. While researchers blame cellphones for a lot of the distracted driving, other distractions -- like eating in the car, playing with the radio and trying to operate the controls on a GPS system are also common during road trips.

To combat the perils of distracted driving during your own summer trips, do the following:

  • Pack an activity bag for your kids to keep them occupied and quiet
  • Include a snack pack that your kids can get into without your help
  • Stop frequently for rest breaks, especially if your mind starts to wander
  • Stop for meals, instead of trying to eat while driving
  • Put your passenger in charge of navigation or set your GPS up before you're in motion

Most of all, put your cellphone on "mute" and put it where it's not a temptation. If you don't trust yourself, lock it in the trunk until you hit the next rest stop.

Distracted driving is a national issue. If you end up in an accident with another driver who's distracted, at least you know you won't have contributed to the problem!

Source: claimsjournal.com, "New Travelers Data Reveals Distracted Driving Spikes in Summer," June 14, 2018

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