Summertime means warm weather, bright sunshine, and time off. In Southern California, summertime also means climbing temperatures that can result in extreme, even dangerously hot weather. It is important to stay vigilant during these summer months. Wear loose clothing, protect yourself with sunscreen, and drink plenty of water. But while many people are aware of the dangers of sun damage and heat stroke, most do not realize that summer months and heat waves can also lead to a higher incident of car accidents.
A massive study was conducted between 2000 and 2011 in Catalonia, Spain, and researchers found that the risk of car accidents increases by 2.9% during heat waves. Additionally, accidents as a result of driver error increase by a rate of 7.7% on those days. That means that as temperatures rise, attention decreases and that everyone on the road is more at risk.
Summertime accidents are most commonly caused by the following:
- More sun glare. Days are longer during the summer, which means you are more likely to be blinded while operating a motor vehicle. Many drivers choose to stay on the road even when their sight is limited. This choice leads to a lot of summertime accidents.
- More pedestrians and bicyclists. People naturally spend more time outside during summer. Kids are off from school, and many people try to maximize their time outdoors by walking and cycling. This means that areas that are traditionally free of pedestrians may become crowded, and that it is the driver’s responsibility to stay cognizant of those crowds and to exercise more caution while driving.
Wear and tear on your vehicle. Heat and sunshine can lead to increased risk of your car overheating, your tires blowing out, and your engine facing problems. It is important to keep your tires well maintained and to make sure that your car’s oil, coolant, and air conditioning are in good working order before temperatures begin to rise.