Heatwaves and Car Accidents: the Surprising Connection Between Hot Summers and Dangerous Roads
Get ready, Southern California is about to get hit with an extreme heat wave! Please do what you can to keep yourself, your family and your pets cool and hydrated. As Pasadena personal injury lawyers, we are sadly too familiar with the risks that high heat pose to all of us. According to the American Red Cross, here’s what you can do to stay safe during a heat wave
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical updates from the National Weather Service (NWS).
- Never leave children or pets alone in enclosed vehicles.
- Eat small meals and eat more often.
- Avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
- Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
- Postpone outdoor games and activities.
- Use a buddy system when working in excessive heat.
- Take frequent breaks if you must work outdoors.
- Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
- Check on your animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat.
Beyond these, how can you stay safe while driving? Believe it or not, there is an increased risk of being involved in a car crash during heat waves. A 2015 Spanish study found that the risk of motor vehicle crashes increases during heat waves. In addition, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) statistics show that the month of August has the second highest number of fatal car accidents. What’s more, June, July, and September are near the top in terms of fatal accidents as well. As Pasadena personal injury lawyers, we see the increase in car accidents and injuries during summer months every year.
But why the increased risk of car accidents and personal injuries during high heat? Researchers from the 2015 Spanish study found that excessive heat contributes to driver fatigue, sleepiness and distractions while driving. Other factors that increase the risk of car crashes include:
More teen rivers on the road during summer. Sadly, more teen drivers on the road can mean increased danger for the rest of us. Statistics show what that teens are more likely to be involved in accidents than other age groups.
“Vacation” drivers. Let’s face it – Southern California is a tourist mecca. Summer traffic around Los Angeles can be stifling, with roads clogged by throngs of tourists who are unfamiliar with the roads and who are distracted by sightseeing (“look – there’s the Hollywood sign!”). This can lead to erratic, unpredictable and distracted driving.
What does this mean?
While we need to be safe on the roads at all times, summer and heatwave driving present unique risks that we all need to consider. You can take precautions to avoid these increased driving dangers. Things to consider:
- Keep an emergency disaster kit in your car.
- Make sure your vehicle’s fluids levels are full, particularly your coolant/antifreeze.
- Avoid driving while tired or sleepy or feeling overheated.
- Drink plenty of water before and after your trip. Dehydration can cause fatigue and dizziness.
- Schedule your trips for cooler times of the day.
Have you or a loved one been in an injury accident? Don’t rely on the insurance company to do the right thing. Get in touch with Manibog Law today to schedule your FREE consultation with offices in Long Beach, Pasadena and West Covina. Let’s discuss how we can get you back on the road to health and well being. Call 1-800-MANIBOG.