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What are the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer?

Posted on: May 18, 2021

The 100 days between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day in September are known as the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. The reason? During this period, there is a significant increase in car accidents in the United States, particularly among teen drivers. Studies show a 26 percent increase in the number of teen deaths caused by car accidents during these 100 days. This includes both teen drivers and their passengers.

The Top Reasons for the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

Although teens have the highest increase in accidents in summer, all drivers are susceptible to a summertime accident. Reasons include the following factors:

More time on the road. Most teen drivers are out of school for the summer, giving them more time to drive, whether running errands; going to work; driving to entertainment venues, stores, or restaurants; or riding around with friends.

Adult drivers, as well, are often on the road more in summer. Vacations, holidays, events, and days off usually equal more time spent driving.

Distracted driving. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents among teen drivers and one of the primary causes among adult drivers. Distractions can be one or more of the following:

  • Visual: taking eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking hands off the wheel
  • Cognitive: taking the mind off driving

Common driver distractions include the following:

  • Talking and texting on a cell phone; the primary distraction cited in accidents involving teens is using a cell phone
  • Retrieving objects from the floor of the car or the back seat
  • Trying to read directions on a cell phone or navigation device
  • Taking pictures with a cell phone
  • Talking or laughing with passengers in the car
  • Fiddling with temperature controls or the radio/CD player
  • Entering data into a GPS
  • Eating and drinking
  • Playing music too loudly
  • Loud, crying, or whining children
  • Unruly passengers
  • Unsecured pets in the car
  • Getting lost in thought or conversation
  • Arguing or fighting with a passenger

Speeding and reckless driving. Teens and adults alike can sometimes overlook driving safety rules. Maybe they are running late for an appointment. Or perhaps they are just so accustomed to driving that they do not bother to follow driving precautions. Reckless driving can include going too fast for conditions, going over the speed limit, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, unsafely changing lanes, and other violations.

Inadequate safety restraints. Studies show that seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. Still, not all drivers and passengers buckle up while in the car, leading to increased deaths and injuries if an accident happens. In addition, children and babies are sometimes not properly secured in the type of seat or restraint appropriate for their age and weight. Summer babysitters, along with parents, should always ensure their charges are restrained securely.

Inadequate safety restraints. Studies show that seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. Still, not all drivers and passengers buckle up while in the car, leading to increased deaths and injuries if an accident happens. In addition, children and babies are sometimes not properly secured in the type of seat or restraint appropriate for their age and weight. Summer babysitters, along with parents, should always ensure their charges are restrained securely.

Inadequate safety restraints. Studies show that seat belts save lives and reduce injuries. Still, not all drivers and passengers buckle up while in the car, leading to increased deaths and injuries if an accident happens. In addition, children and babies are sometimes not properly secured in the type of seat or restraint appropriate for their age and weight. Summer babysitters, along with parents, should always ensure their charges are restrained securely.

Impaired driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can cause accidents any time of the year. In summer, occasions to celebrate such as holidays, outdoor activities, and vacations increase the chance for people to imbibe too much and then drive. Unfortunately, teens do this as well. The combination of impaired and inexperienced driving spells danger on the roads for teen drivers, their passengers, and other motorists.

More pedestrians and bicycles. Everyone loves a warm and sunny summer day to venture out for a walk or a bike ride. Unfortunately, teen and adult drivers alike may not be used to sharing the road with others, especially those in their blind spots. Motorcycle use also increases in the summer, requiring extra vigilance by drivers of all ages.

Weather and road conditions. Summertime across the United States can bring all types of weather, often without warning. Fierce downpours, hail, severe thunderstorms, tropical storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes all require the need for increased safety on the road and for seeking off-road shelter.

Traffic back-ups. With more people on the road in summer, there is potential for traffic congestion and accidents. Teen drivers may not have the skills to navigate traffic congestion or slow-and-go situations. Adult drivers may not have the patience to do so or forget that unexpected road situations can arise suddenly.

Construction. There is not a state in the union that is exempt from orange barrels, including New Jersey. Road or highway construction causes lane closures, yields, merges, detours, and back-ups, all confusing situations for both teen and adult drivers. 

Car problems. Heat and humidity can cause an engine to overheat or a tire to lose pressure, among other dangers. Any driver, but especially young drivers, will find it difficult to control a car that develops sudden problems from summer heat.

Fatigued driving. Driving while sleepy frequently happens in the summer to drivers of any age. For example, a driver on vacation may drive late into the night or start early in the morning to arrive at their destination. Vacation drivers may also be out of their routines and not get enough sleep. Whatever the reason, fatigued drivers cause accidents either from falling asleep or from reduced focus and alertness when tired.

Relaxed driving. Summertime means sun, fun, outdoor activities, new places, and celebrations with family and friends. These are all good things, but when that relaxed mood follows people to the driver’s seat, accidents can happen. Driving in a vacation destination, for example, is not a reason not to follow the road rules. Motorists should have fun in the summer but take driving seriously no matter the season.

How to be Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer

There are ways to reduce being a statistic of the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. Teens and parents should discuss ground rules for summer driving, while all drivers should do the following:

  • Set the cell phone to Do Not Disturb while driving, or use hands-free if able. If using the cell phone for navigation, mount it on a device that is level with the driver’s eyes.
  • Have a plan for long road trips: where and when to stop for rests, meals, and the night. Limit daily driving to a certain number of hours to prevent fatigue.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle if possible; more passengers mean more distraction.
  • Program the navigation system before heading out instead of while on the road.
  • Set driving curfews and passenger limits for teen drivers.
  • Keep children occupied with books and quiet games. Share expectations for behavior before setting out.
  • Never drink or use drugs and drive, whether an adult or teen. Impaired driving kills.
  • Should overindulging happen, call a taxi, friend, or ride-sharing service.
  • Do not get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs.
  • Wear a seat belt and require passengers to wear theirs at all times. Restrain children in the seats appropriate for their age and weight.
  • Do not speed or drive recklessly, whether on a highway or around the corner. Driving rules exist because they save lives.
  • Be prepared for unexpected road conditions. Construction and increased motorists on the road can cause quick back-ups and other delays that require focus to navigate.
  • Carry emergency supplies. When an adverse situation strikes, be prepared with an emergency car repair kit and first-aid kit.

What Should I Do in a Summer Car Accident?

The following tips can help after a summertime accident that could end up as a lawsuit against a negligent driver:

  • Stay calm and call 911 for help, if able.
  • Check for injuries and help without causing further harm.
  • Move out of the way of surrounding traffic and stay inside the car, if able.
  • Talk with those milling around or people who have stopped to help. Try to get statements from them about what happened. Be sure to get their contact information.
  • Take pictures and video of the accident. Use a cell phone to snap photos of the damage to and location of vehicles, bodily injuries, strewn car parts, and road and weather conditions.
  • Accept and seek medical help. Take help from emergency medical technicians on the scene, even if injuries are not apparent. Always seek help after an accident because injuries may take time to show up. Keep all doctor communications, receipts, and other documents related to the accident.
  • Cooperate with law enforcement, but do not admit guilt or fault.
  • Do not accept a settlement from an insurance company. Insurers never offer the full compensation for which a victim is entitled. 
  • Call an experienced car accident lawyer.

Monmouth County Car Accidents Lawyers at Ellis Law Advocate for Car Accident Victims Any Time of Year

Negligent drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer need to be held accountable for their actions. A car accident victim can suffer enormous physical, emotional, and financial losses. When they do, the Monmouth County car accident lawyers at Ellis Law are ready to help. We have the expertise needed to negotiate or litigate fair settlements for victims of car accidents at any time of year. Call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Marlboro Township, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.