Summer Road Trips: Driving & Travel Tips
The official start to summer is nearly here, and many people throughout South Carolina and the country are gearing up for vacations, events, and road trips. If you are preparing to hit the road this summer, it is important to remember that this time of year can present unique risks on public roads and highways. In fact, the summer months commonly see an increase in auto accidents, often as a result of increased traffic, out-of-town motorists, and impaired driving.
Because our legal team at Traywick Law Offices has represented many car accident victims throughout the state, we know preventable wrecks can lead to profound physical, financial, and emotional setbacks. As such, our Charleston car accident lawyer and entire legal team want to remind local residents about making safety a priority whenever they head out on the road this summer.
To help you and your loved ones stay safe this summer, we’ve put together the following information about common driving risks and travel tips:
- Increased traffic – Summer months present unique risks on public roadways. These risks mean more chances of accidents, especially those resulting from increased traffic. During the summer, more vehicles are on the road, particularly during holidays. Many of these vehicles may also be loaded up with cargo for family vacations or trailers towing boats and other forms of recreation. There is also a substantial increase in motorcycle and RV traffic. Because of this, you want to be sure that you remain vigilant on the road, and always scan your surroundings for motorcyclists and slower moving vehicles. Be sure to always travel at a safe speed and to follow at a safe distance.
- Out-of-town motorists – During the summer season, South Carolina and other states play host to many tourists or out-of-state drivers who may be passing through on road trips. Out-of-town motorists can pose risks on our roadways when they are not familiar with the local landscape, local traffic laws, and local roads. Often, this means vehicles may slow or stop quickly, or may make dangerous driving moves in order to make a turn or exit. Be sure to follow at a safe distance to reduce the risks of crashes when out-of-town motorists are nearby.
- Teen drivers – According to AAA, summer is a particularly dangerous time for teens and young adults who get behind the wheel. With summer vacation and freedom from school, younger drivers often hit the road. Unfortunately, these drivers may lack the experience or maturity to make safe and reasonable driving decisions, and often engage in risky behaviors such as distracted driving, drunk driving, or speeding. In fact, AAA refers to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer for teens. If you have a teen driver, make sure you speak openly with them about their rights and responsibilities behind the wheel.
- Drunk driving – Summer is a time for celebration and events, many of which are enjoyed with alcohol. Unfortunately, this means that summer sees a significant surge in drunk driving accidents. This is especially true during holidays and holiday weekends, such as Fourth of July and Labor Day weekend. Do your part to keep our roadways safe by always driving sober. If you have plans to drink, make sure you do so responsibly, make plans to stay the night, or have a plan for getting a safe ride; whether that means a designated driver, taxi, or ride share service like Uber or Lyft. Drunk driving is an illegal and negligent act, and impaired motorists who cause injuries in preventable wrecks can face civil liability for injured victims’ damages, in addition to criminal penalties.
- Distracted driving – Experts have stated that distracted driving is leading the increase in traffic fatalities on American roads in recent years. Although any type of distraction is dangerous when it takes place behind the wheel, few are as alarming as texting or using a cell phone. When a driver texts or uses a hand held phone, they divert multiple forms of their attention away from the road (visual, manual, mental). This is a clear exhibition of negligence, and a risky form of multi-tasking that can substantially increase the risk of preventable wrecks. In South Carolina, texting while driving is prohibited for all drivers statewide, and any distracted motorist who injures others in a wreck can be held liable for the damages they cause.
- Tired driving – Studies have shown that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, and that it causes over 100,000 traffic wrecks each year. In fact, AAA researchers have noted that losing even just a few hours of sleep is comparable to driving with a blood alcohol level at or above the legal limit. With more road trippers out there during summer, tired and fatigued driving becomes a real risk. Make sure you get enough rest when you are driving longer distances. You can also pull over to rest if you are feeling fatigued or switch off with another driver every few hours.
- Be prepared – In addition to knowing the risks you face when you head out on the road, it is also critical that you be prepared when you have plans to travel or head out on a road trip. This means taking your car in for a tune-up prior to long treks to ensure that tires, belts, fluids, and other critical vehicle components are in working order. If you have children, make sure their car seat or booster seat is in working order and properly installed. You can also prepare an emergency kit that includes water, blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, flares, a first aid kit, and tire-changing tools for the unforeseen. If you have heavy cargo, like luggage, try to store them low in seat wells during travel or fasten them down so they don’t become dangerous projectiles during a sudden stop or crash.
Even when you know the risks, prepare yourself, and make safety a priority, wrecks can still happen when others are negligent. When a negligent motorist does cause an accident that results in injuries, victims have the right to seek a financial recovery of their damages – including medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering – by pursuing a personal injury case.
Our legal team at Traywick Law Offices is passionate about guiding clients through the personal injury process, and about fighting for the full and fair compensation they deserve. To discuss a potential case during a FREE consultation, call (843) 343-5092.