Distracted driving can take many forms – texting and driving, using navigations systems while driving, talking to passengers while driving, fiddling with the radio while driving or even thinking of your plans later in the day.
While it can be difficult to measure distracted driving statistics (as many drivers can simply lie about their actions behind the wheel), TrueMotion found that drivers are on average 10 percent more distracted over the summer months (June, July and August) as opposed to other months of the year. This amounts to 15 minutes of distraction for every hour of travel.
The risks of summer driving
What makes summer so dangerous for drivers? For one, more families are going on road trips, holidays and vacations. When the kids are out of school, families hit the road. One estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 20 percent more miles are driven over the summer, and as a result there are 29 percent more roadway fatalities over the summer months compared to winter months.
School’s out for the summer
While summer vacation leads to more family vacations on the road, it also leads to more teen drivers on the road. While high school and college students are out of school, they often spend more time driving. A study from We Save Lives estimates that this results in a 25 percent increase in teen auto fatalities during the summer months, compared to other seasons.
We Save Lives also found that about 60 percent of teen auto accidents are caused by distracted driving. Perhaps more surprising – the majority of these distractions come from other passengers in the vehicle, not smart phone use.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Drivers should always put 100 percent of their focus on the road and other drivers. More drivers will always result in more accidents and more fatalities. Coupled with higher rates of distracted driving over the summer, independent from the increase in drivers, this can have a devastating impact on the risks of auto accident deaths over June, July and August. Drivers should always keep their eyes on the road to protect themselves, their passengers and other drivers to the fullest extent possible.