Summer has officially arrived in the greater Philadelphia region. With the arrival of warm weather, many people are looking to escape the heat with summer road trips to the shore. Getting out of the Philadelphia is tempting — but it can also be dangerous if you plan on driving.
Most Philadelphians know the hazards of winter driving: ice, snow, and slushy conditions. Yet what many people do not realize that summer is actually the most dangerous time of year to drive. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July and August are the two deadliest months for driving.
There are more traffic accidents between more Memorial Day and Labor Day than during the rest of the year.
As a Philadelphia car accident attorney can explain, this is due to a number of factors, such as construction, heavier traffic, more motorcycles and bicycles on the roads, and wet weather. Fortunately, there are steps that each of us can take to keep ourselves and our families safe during our travels and commutes this summer. Read on to learn more about how you can lower your risk of a car accident on your summer road trips.
Increased Road Traffic Can Lead to More Summertime Accidents
One of the biggest factors impacting the number of crashes during the summer is the simple fact that more people are on our nation’s highways during that time. Kids are out of school, families plan vacations, and people visit popular tourist spots such as the historical sites of Philadelphia. The highways surrounding Philadelphia also serve as connections to beach destinations for much of the East Coast, increasing the amount of traffic in our metro area.
All of these extra cars on the road mean heavier traffic and more congestion. Drivers may become more impatient, and engage in unsafe driving behavior, such as speeding. They may also rely on technology like a GPS system if they are not familiar with our roads. During the summer months, you can stay safe by staying alert, practicing defensive driving skills, and giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
Use Caution Around Big Rigs
Accidents involving tractor-trailers are common throughout the year in the greater Philadelphia area. However, in the summer, when the highways and roads are even more congested due to vacation travel, the possibility for serious or even fatal truck accidents only increases.
In Philadelphia, there have been a number of crashes involving trucks in recent months, particularly on major arteries going in and out of the city, such as I-95.
In April, a tractor-trailer overturned while exiting I-95 to Packer Avenue and the Walt Whitman Bridge. One person died as a result of this accident, while another was injured.
In June, a tractor-trailer overturned at the base of Ben Franklin Bridge after the driver lost control of the vehicle.
As experienced Philadelphia truck accident attorneys, we know that not every accident involving a big rig can be avoided. However, there are steps that you can take to minimize your chances of being involved in a truck accident. First, give trucks plenty of room, being sure to stay out of what is known as their “no-zones,” which are the areas behind, beside and directly in front of a tractor-trailer.
Second, as you pass a truck, give it more room that you would a passenger vehicle by hugging the outside lane and giving it a bigger cushion of space when merging back in front of the truck. Third, avoid turning trucks, particularly on the right side — where the driver has a large blind spot. Fourth, never cut off a truck or merge quickly in front of them. Trucks cannot maneuver as quickly as cars can, so doing this can lead to a serious accident.
Be Aware of Different State Laws on Summer Road Trips
Did you know that in New Jersey, it is against the law to use your phone while driving, unless it is with a hands-free device? That means that if you take a call without using bluetooth, or send a text, you could get a ticket. This is just one example of how the law differs between Pennsylvania and another state. Taking the time to learn the basics of state driving laws can help to keep you and your family safe — and prevent you from getting an expensive ticket.
You have probably heard the phrase “ignorance of the law is not an excuse.” As a general rule, this phrase is true — including when it comes to driving infractions. When you travel to a different state, you are responsible for knowing its rules and regulations. So if you are planning summer road trips or a vacation to the shore, start by brushing up on the laws of any states that you plan to visit.
Prepare Yourself — and Your Vehicle — for Road Trips
One of the most important aspects of summer road trips is making sure that your car is ready to be out on the open roads. Before heading off on any road trip, be sure that your vehicle has been inspected and that your tires are in good shape. You should also make sure to fully stock your car with emergency supplies, such as a first aid kit, batteries, water, a spare tire, and other necessities.
Next, plan your route in advance. This can help you avoid construction and prevent you from being distracted by your GPS. If you have kids, be sure to prepare for their entertainment so that they engaged during the trip. Finally, remember that safety is your top priority: build in plenty of time for breaks, stay within the speed limit, avoid distracted driving, and buckle up every time.
Contact a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney Today
Solnick & Associates is committed to helping our clients get the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. If you have been hurt in a Philadelphia car accident or truck accident during one of your summer road trips, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.