Monthly Archives: July 2017

Is Summer the Most Dangerous Time to Drive?

Yes. During the summer, there are hazards present that are not there during other times of the year. This is actually true of all seasons: in the winter, drivers face snow and ice accumulation, in the Fall, drivers face rapidly shortening days and heavy autumn rains, and in the spring, winter’s leftover potholes can make for a difficult, bumpy ride. In the summer, heat makes drivers uncomfortable and can cause vehicles to overheat. More drivers, particularly inexperienced drivers, are on the roadway and with summer holidays can come more impaired drivers, both of which are linked to a higher incidence of car accidents.

More Teen Drivers on the Road Means More Chances for Inexperience-based Collisions

The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are known as the “100 deadliest days of summer” for teenage drivers. This is because the number of teenage traffic fatalities increases during the summer months, when young drivers are driving through new locations, during later hours of the night, and more frequently with friends in their cars.

Hot Weather Can Mean Hot Tempers

During the summer months, drivers are more likely to experience road rage than they are at other times of the year. Road rage can include, but is certainly not limited to:

  • Rude gestures, such as “flipping the bird;”
  • Tailgating;
  • Shouting at other drivers; and
  • Driving in an aggressive manner, such as weaving in and out of traffic.

If you experience road rage from other drivers, do not engage with them. Instead, choose to continue driving in accordance with the posted traffic signs and focusing on getting yourself to your destination safely. Engaging with an angry driver will only encourage them to continue their behavior and can put you into a dangerous position.

Although you cannot control how others behave, you can avoid making other drivers upset by driving in a safe, considerate manner. Do not use a handheld phone while you are driving and make it a point to keep up with the flow of traffic. Do not cut others off in traffic or follow other vehicles too closely, because these can make other drivers upset and cause them to react in a negative manner.

Road Work Can Mean New, Confusing Traffic Patterns

It is not uncommon for states, counties, and municipalities to do road work during the summer in order to avoid weather-based delays that can come at other times of the year. When road crews are working, lanes might be closed off or traffic patterns could be rerouted, both of which can be confusing for drivers and back traffic up. Pay close attention to the posted traffic changes that accompany roadwork this summer to reduce your chance of being involved in an accident.

An Overheated Vehicle Can be a Hazard to Everybody on the Roadway

If your vehicle overheats, it can break down on the roadway and become a collision hazard for others. If your car is in danger of overheating, which you can determine by watching its temperature gauge, pull off the road and turn the engine off. White vapor or a strange smell from under the hood can also indicate a dangerously high temperature for your engine.

Keep yourself Cool and Safe on the Road this Summer

To avoid becoming a victim of road rage or engaging in road rage yourself, it is important that you stay cool, both emotionally and physically. Physical discomfort is linked to emotional overreaction and anger, so it is important that you keep your body cool while driving this summer by using your air conditioning system and drinking enough water.

Play soothing music in the car and consciously choose not to get upset by things you cannot control, like the heat or the traffic congestion. Consider learning how to relax your body with breathing techniques. By lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, you can reduce your stress level and arrive at your destination calm and ready for the rest of your day.

Work with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin

If you are involved in a car accident this summer and suffer an injury, you could be entitled to recover compensation for your related damages through a personal injury claim with the help of an Appleton personal injury attorney. To learn more about the personal injury claim process, your rights as an injured claimant, and how to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve, contact our team of Appleton car accident attorneys at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.

How to Avoid Car Accidents in the Summer

Although it can seem counterintuitive at first, the summer is actually one of the most dangerous times of year to drive. Although the lack of snow and ice on the road and the longer daylight hours seem like they would reduce the number of collisions on Wisconsin highways during the warmer months, there is actually a higher incidence of collisions during the summer, especially for teenage drivers.

You can take steps to reduce your likelihood of being involved in a car accident this summer. Just as you do throughout the year, follow the posted traffic signs and always obey the posted speed limit. Drive defensively and adjust your driving to your surroundings. A few other ways you can avoid car accidents this summer include:

Choose Not to Drink and Drive

Summer often means barbecues, graduation parties, and for those around Green Bay, days on the boat. And a lot of these events mean drinking alcohol. Drunk driving is not only dangerous, it is illegal and carries criminal penalties for those found guilty of OWI.

If you choose to drink, do not drive. Get a ride from a designated driver or use a rideshare like Uber or public transportation to reach your destination. Alcohol inhibits a driver’s perception of the road, his or her judgment, and his or her reaction time, all of which can cause a deadly accident.

Keep your Car from Overheating and Be Prepared for Breakdowns

If your car overheats, it can break down and potentially cause a collision. It can also leave you facing a steep car repair bill or even mechanically total your car. If you notice white vapor coming from under your hood, a strong unpleasant smell in your car, or the needle on your dashboard temperature gauge going beyond the normal temperature range for your engine, pull off the road immediately and turn the car off. Open the hood to allow it to cool, but do not touch anything inside until it has cooled completely. Once you can open the coolant tank, check its level. If all you need is to top it off, do so and get yourself home or to a mechanic to determine if there is a leak in your cooling system.

Share the Road with Others

During the summer months, school is out and there are more teenage drivers on the road than there are during the academic year. Many of these new drivers are driving on unfamiliar roads and could be facing certain roadway challenges for the first time, like navigating a divided highway or driving at night. Pay close attention to the road at all times so you can react to sudden, irrational moves by inexperienced drivers.

Summer is also a popular time of year for road trips. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the roads and cities they visit can make similar mistakes to young drivers, such as driving too slowly and making sudden turns.

In addition to young and visiting drivers, there tends to be more motorcyclists and bicyclists on the road during the warmer months. Again, be conscientious of these individuals to avoid collisions with them.

Keep Yourself Calm, Cool, and in Control Behind the Wheel

It can be easy to become frustrated when sharing the road with the drivers discussed above. This, paired with the heat of the summer months, can easily cause drivers to overreact to others’ actions and create an aggressive driving environment. This is known as “road rage,” and it is not productive for anybody.

When you drive this summer, keep your mood stable by keeping yourself cool physically and emotionally. Keep a bottle of water in the car to keep yourself hydrated at all times. If your vehicle has air conditioning, use it to stay comfortable. When traffic piles up or other drivers make inappropriate moves, do not take it personally. Make safety a priority and do not engage when others make aggressive – or stupid – choices.

Work with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Wisconsin

Even if you take all the necessary precautions to prevent a car accident this summer, there is still a chance that another driver will behave in a negligent manner and cause you to suffer an injury in a collision. If this happens, you could be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your resulting damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more, contact our team of experienced Appleton car accident lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to schedule your initial consultation with us. Our Appleton personal injury attorneys can answer any questions you have and help you move forward with the personal injury claim process.