The Most Dangerous Driving Season: Tips to Stay Safe
Holidays are typically associated with more car accidents than non-holiday periods, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, Memorial Day to Labor Day is often referred to as the “one hundred deadliest days” of the year, as most auto accidents and fatalities occur during this period, particularly for teenage drivers. The death toll from teen motor vehicle accidents rose by over 14% since 2019, with 2,738 deaths in 2020. In summer, teens are more likely to be involved in accidents due to their driving demeanor, joy riding, intoxicated driving, distracted driving, and more time spent on the road.
Although the end of Labor Day weekend marks the finale of the hundred deadliest driving days, motorists across the board are not out of the woods yet. Many holidays in the coming months provide opportunities for increased collisions like:
- Halloween is a day when drivers must be on the lookout as children fill the streets of their local neighborhoods while trick-or-treating.
- Thanksgiving is one of the highway’s most active days as everyone travels to see family or join a Friendsgiving.
- Lastly, the entire winter holiday season sparks chances for car accidents concluding with New Year’s Eve and Day.
In addition, teenage driving accidents have spiked every October since 2020, and the new school year calls for added attention from drivers.
Back to School Driving Safety Tips
It’s the time when kids return to school on foot, by car, bikes, scooters, and big yellow school buses, and parents adjust to balancing work, school, and childcare. Accidents are expected to increase during the annual transition to back-to-school due to the above road hazards returning. The good news is that some accidents are preventable, and a few fundamental tips can help everyone improve their safety.
Below are some recommendations for drivers, parents, pedestrians, and all commuters.
- Speed Limits: Driving slowly and cautiously is critical, especially in school zones. Besides keeping yourself and your neighbors safe, you can protect your wallet by slowing down and avoiding steep school zone fines. We all walk at some point, and pedestrian accidents in California have increased to unprecedented levels compared to the last four decades. Speed laws can protect children and the community, but only when obeyed.
- Pedestrian Safety: Pedestrian accidents and fatalities have increased, so respecting pedestrian crosswalks and paying attention at intersections is essential. Stay focused on the road, regard pedestrian safety, especially at crosswalk lights and traffic signs, and practice patience. You or someone else could lose a life because of running red lights or a lack of awareness at crosswalks.
- Child Pedestrian Safety: Children can appear behind parked SUVs or hesitate at intersections. On the road, catastrophes can happen in an instant. At the start of a new school year, avoiding distracted or negligent driving is especially wise. It’s not uncommon for children to ride bicycles and scooters. Although parents should teach their children to ride safely, kids can unpredictably turn to cross a street while cycling. Keep an eye out for hazards, as they can appear suddenly.
- Avoid Blocking the Crosswalk: If the light is yellow, it doesn’t mean hurry up but rather slow down to a stop. When drivers try and “make a light,” they often block a crosswalk. The result can be a pedestrian having to walk around vehicles into intersections which be a recipe for disaster.
- Distracted Pedestrians: Whether behind the wheel or on foot, avoid using your smartphone or other sources of distraction when crossing an intersection or road. Over 60% of pedestrians are distracted while walking on foot, leaving pedestrians vulnerable and causing accidents, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). When walking to work and school, it’s tempting to listen to music via headphones, play candy crush, text a friend, or watch a TikTok; however, you will decrease your chances of hearing the honking car horn or seeing a speeding car headed your direction. The AAOS reported that approximately 4 out of 10 Americans had witnessed distracted walking incidents, and well over a quarter have experienced them firsthand. Thus, stay vigilant, keep all senses sharp, and save the smartphone and other distractions for the sidewalk, but it’s advisable to eliminate them whenever traveling.
- Sharing the Road with Bicyclists: California has extensive bicycle laws that have evolved, aiming to reduce the number of bike-related traffic accidents and fatalities. Unfortunately, not all motorists respect these laws. According to the California Division of Motor Vehicles, the Golden State still sees over 100 fatal collisions involving bicyclists yearly and more than 10,000 injuries. Though bicyclists should use bike lanes wherever provided, there are some instances in which they are permitted and required to share the road with motorists. Re-familiarize yourself with critical bicyclist hand signals and laws.
- Drop Off and Carpools: Drop your child directly outside their school or by a volunteer carline. Otherwise, your child may have to cross a busy street alone with cars darting off to work, daycare, appointments, and errands. Carpooling is a great option that may help your community. During heavy traffic, carpooling decreases the volume of cars on the road.
Car, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Accidents
All Californians should know and obey traffic and pedestrian laws. Unfortunately, accidents still occur even when you have the best intentions. A car accident is scary and frustrating, especially when you are a not-at-fault driver, pedestrian, or cyclist injured by another’s negligence. There are crucial steps to take if you or your loved one have sustained an injury in a California traffic accident. For example, you should always call the police, file an official report, and seek medical attention immediately, regardless of how minor an injury may appear.
After an accident focusing on your recovery and well-being is imperative; however, medical bills, likely already mounting as your recovery process is only beginning, make this difficult. Financial stress can make prioritizing your health seem like a challenge. Contact an experienced California Personal Injury Lawyer today who can advocate for you and your rights while ensuring you receive the maximum compensation for your injury and other damages.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
California’s car accident attorneys at Castillo & Associates are available to speak with you about your legal rights and potential options if you have been injured in a car crash. To schedule a free consultation, call 1 800-497-9774. We have recovered over $300 million dollars in compensation for our clients to date. We can help you determine your options and guide you further in each step of the process. Our experienced attorneys at Castillo & Associates can help you gather any evidence you may need to get the maximum benefits for your injury.
At Castillo & Associates, we have offices conveniently located throughout Southern California in Los Angeles County, Inland Empire, Coachella Valley, and the San Diego area of Mission Valley. We are Bilingual Attorneys and have over 33 years of combined experience in Workers Compensation Claims & Workers Compensation Law as well as Personal Injury Law.
Attorney Domingo Castillo is a workers’ compensation & personal injury lawyer who serve Southern California from our 5 offices: Indio, Pomona, Riverside, San Diego & Calexico.