Law Offices of Paul K. Schrier, PLLC

Leading cause of car accidents in Florida heat

Although we typically associate car accidents with bad weather, hot, sunny summer days can actually be the most dangerous for drivers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the month of August had 3,037 accidents in 2014, the second highest total for the year. June and July were not much better, each with more than 2,800 accidents nationwide.

In sunny Florida, where the weather is warm for much of the year, it is especially important to understand what causes summer car accidents. Knowing what makes driving in the summer heat so dangerous can help to prevent future mishaps.

Below are seven reasons for accidents in hot weather as well as tips for staying safe:

  1. Tire blowouts – Hot weather can cause the air inside your tires to expand. If tires are worn out, this can lead to a blowout on the road – and potential accidents.Safety tip: Check your tires on a regular basis, especially during heat waves in the summertime.
  2. Excess heat – Driving in a hot car exposes you to extreme heat that can dehydrate you and make you feel drowsy. It even can put you at risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke.Safety tip: Sip water regularly as you drive and keep cool by using air conditioning or rolling down the windows. Also consider wearing sunscreen when you are in the car to protect yourself from sunburn.
  3. Engine overheating - Your engine also can overheat in hot weather, especially if you are using air conditioning to keep vehicle occupants cool.Safety tip: If your engine starts of overheat, pull over and allow it time to cool down.
  4. Road construction – In many areas, summer is the time to complete road construction and regular maintenance. Unfortunately, with this comes an increase in car accidents due to sudden stops of traffic, detours and other factors.Safety tip: Watch for signs of upcoming construction zones and proceed with extra caution. Allow yourself extra travel time to maneuver through these areas.
  5. More teenagers on the road – When school’s out for summer, many teens spend their vacations on the road. In fact, more teens are killed in car accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of year.Safety tip: Remind teenagers to drive safely, not have too many passengers and to limit the number of trips they take.
  6. People on vacation – Summer is a great time to go on a family vacation, and many people chose to do so at various Florida destinations. Vacationing drivers may be unfamiliar with the roads, resulting in erratic or abrupt changes in driving.Safety tip: Keep an eye out for drivers who might be on vacation and, if you yourself are on a trip, familiarize yourself with your route as much as possible beforehand.
  7. Poor visibility – Although clear, sunny days may not seem to pose visibility issues, the glare and bright sun can make it difficult to see what’s ahead of you.Safety tip: Wear sunglasses when driving and use your car’s sun visors to keep the sun directly out of your eyes.

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