Summer is a time to relax, a time to slow down and a time for vacation. But during the summer months, drivers in our state are at an increased risk for a car accident in West Palm Beach or elsewhere in Florida.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys ask that all drivers on our roadways pay extra attention to their surroundings on our roadways this summer. Enhanced driving habits can help to keep you and your loved ones safe during the busy summer traveling months.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were nearly 236,000 traffic accidents reported in our state in 2009. Nearly 2,600 people were killed in these accidents. Another 197,000 were injured. Nearly 500 pedestrians and 100 bicyclists were killed on our roadways as well. A hefty number of these fatalities occurred during the hot Florida summer months.
Reader’s Digest offers these five important safety tips to remember when you’re out driving this summer:
–Be on the lookout for wild animals: During the summer months you’re at a greater risk of hitting an armadillo, an alligator, a panther or another wild animal. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings at all times.
“Drivers need to understand the type of area they are driving in and be aware of any signs or markings indicating the possibility of animal crossings,” says says Dan Bleier, a spokesperson for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
You are urged to turn on your high beams and be extra cautious from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to midnight to reduce your chances of striking one of these animals.
–Be extra careful in the wet summer weather: Cars are likely to hydroplane on wet pavement. A number of accidents are caused simply because a driver neglects to adjust their driving behavior to accommodate the current weather condition.
A little extra caution is bound to slow your trip down, “but being involved in a crash could end your trip entirely – or worse,” says Bleier.
Always use your headlights when visibility is poor, make sure you keep the interior of your windows and windshield clean and make sure that all of your lights and turn signals are working properly before venturing out.
-Make sure you’re well rested before jumping behind the wheel. According to the AAA Foundation, two out of every five drivers report that they have fallen asleep while driving at least once before. One out of 10 drivers admits that they’ve fallen asleep at the wheel within the past year.
“About one in six fatal crashes involves a drowsy driver,” says Belier.
If you’re feeling sleepy, switch with a passenger. If you’re driving alone, pull over in a safe place and take a nap. You should never drive on less than 6 hours of sleep. Make sure that you take a break every 100 miles or every 2 hours.
–Keep an eye out for two-wheeled travelers: motorcyclists and bicyclists. Because they’re smaller than a passenger vehicle, they’re often times overlooked and ignored in traffic. They can be harder to spot in your mirror.
“Drivers should leave extra stopping space between themselves and riders because they (riders) have far less protection than those inside of other vehicles,” Bleier says.
–Abide by the speed limit. Speeding may get your to your destination sooner, but it endangers you and other motorists on the roadway. As a matter of fact, speeding is one of the leading contributors to traffic accidents, regardless what time of year it is.
“Drivers are focused on getting to their destination quickly, rather than getting to their destination safely,” says Bleier.
Summer is a time for everyone to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather. It’s no time to be dealing with a car accident or resulting injuries. Please travel safely during the next few months and do your part to help keep residents and tourists safe in the state of Florida.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.
More Blog Entries:
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Florida Ranks 37th Nationwide in Driving Skills, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 11, 2011
New Consumer Report Flags Tire Pressure as Cause of Car Accidents in West Palm and Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, June 9, 2011