Is it safer to drive in the summer or the winter?
Your first instinct may be to say the wintertime is more dangerous, as you are going to encounter snow and ice on many occasions. However, in some ways the summertime is a more dangerous time to be out on the road.
Below, the experienced Windsor vehicle accident lawyers at Greg Monforton and Partners discuss common summer driving hazards you may encounter on roads in Windsor and elsewhere in Ontario. We also explain how to reduce your risk of a crash.
Have legal questions after a crash? Call for assistance: (866) 320-4770.
Summer Car Crashes Have Already Increased in 2023
2023 has been a deadly year on Ontario roads. As of June 19, 150 people died in auto accidents on Ontario provincial highways – this is an increase of 25 fatalities compared to the first six months of 2022.
A total of 18 of the 150 victims died in the first 11 days of June. There were just four deaths in those 11 days in 2022.
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are urging drivers to be safe when driving in the summer. An OPP news release warns drivers about dangerous behaviours, including:
- Drunk driving
- Distraction and lack of attention
- Fatigued driving
The release notes that it takes just one careless action to cause a dangerous or fatal crash. You need to exercise caution and watch for the road users who are the most vulnerable, including pedestrians and bicycle and motorcycle riders.
Dangers of Driving in the Summertime in Ontario
Some of the summer driving hazards discussed below are present throughout the year. However, during the summer you may be more likely to encounter these hazards, which is why you should pay extra attention to them.
School is out for the summer, which means you are likely to encounter more teenage drivers on Ontario roads. While some teenagers are better drivers than others, younger drivers are generally more dangerous than older drivers. This is partly because younger drivers lack experience, which makes them more likely to engage in dangerous behaviours, like:
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely
- Unsafe lane changes
- Violating other drivers’ right of way
When teenage drivers get into trouble, they often do not know how to avoid a crash. This is because of their lack of experience. Sometimes teenagers learn to be a better driver after getting into a crash.
Teenagers are notorious for distracted driving. However, distracted driving is a problem across all age groups.
In the summertime, you may encounter tourists or even locals who are distracted by the things happening around them. They may be get distracted by their phones or onboard GPS devices because they are unsure about where they are going.
Drivers and passengers may also be on their way to a party, concert, festival or other event they are excited about attending. In their excitement, they may get wrapped up in conversation. Sometimes, the driver may even look away from the road or take his or her mind off the task of driving.
Drivers on Road Trips
Drivers who are on road trips are probably unfamiliar with the area. This can lead to a lot of dangerous behaviours, like driving too slowly, sudden stops, sudden lane changes or even speeding.
Drivers may often get distracted during a road trip because they are trying to figure out where they are going.
More Pedestrians and Bicyclists
Warmer weather brings out pedestrians and bicyclists in the summer months.
Unfortunately, pedestrians are not always as careful as they should be. They may wander much too close to traffic, increasing their risk for getting hit by a passing vehicle. Drivers need to be careful in locations where pedestrian traffic is close to vehicle traffic.
Drivers also need to give bicyclists plenty of space and remember to watch for them at intersections, especially when you are turning. If you parallel park, look for bicyclists before you open your door.
More Motorcycle Riders
You may see more motorcyclists on the road in the summer, so you need to keep an eye out for them. Remember, as for any vehicle, to always give motorcycle riders the space to which they are entitled. Many riders operate their bikes safely and they only get into trouble because of negligent drivers.
Some riders may be reckless on the road, so it is important to keep your distance. Watch your blind spots as well, especially when changing lanes and turning, as motorcycles are harder to see than cars.
Ontario gets significant rainfall in the summer. The rain can not only obstruct visibility, but it can also make the roads slippery. The wet roads make it significantly harder to slow down quickly or stop to avoid a crash. This risk is greater if you are driving on older tires with worn treads.
Drivers tend to be more nervous in the rain, which can lead to erratic behaviour and increase the risk of a collision.
Tips to Avoid a Crash in the Summer
There are several practical steps you can take to prevent a summer car crash in Ontario.
- Avoid drinking and driving – You should also keep your distance from drivers who are operating their vehicles erratically, as this may be a sign of impaired driving. Before you going to an event where you plan to consume alcohol, pick a designated driver or use a ridesharing service to avoid driving while impaired.
- Avoid distractions – When you are driving, you need to keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your mind on being a safe driver. If you need directions, allow your passengers to get them. If you are driving alone, set your GPS before you start driving.
- Avoid dangerous drivers – One aspect of being a defensive driver is avoiding dangerous drivers. If you see someone speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, failing to stay in a lane, or exhibiting other types of risky behavior, keep your distance. You can always change lanes or slow down to avoid these drivers. Sometimes taking a simple step like this goes a long way toward preventing a serious injury.
- Keep your tires properly inflated and replace them if they are worn down – Underinflated or old tires increase the risk of a blowout or losing traction on a wet road.
- Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists – Part of staying focused on driving includes watching for pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists.
Call Today For Legal Assistance Following an Accident
There are many things you need to do after getting injured in a crash. One of the most important things is to find a lawyer to guide you through the legal process.
There are many steps in the process, and you do not want to go through it alone. Victims who hire lawyers often obtain more compensation than those who do not. Without a lawyer, you may be more likely to make significant mistakes and hurt your chances for recovering full compensation.
Our firm does not charge upfront fees. The initial legal consultation is free of charge as well.
Contact Greg Monforton and Partners today: (866) 320-4770.