California traffic safety: Summer driving tips

Taking certain precautions when traveling during the warmer months may help people avoid summer driving crashes in California.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, people suffered 12,776 serious injuries and 3,405 deaths as a result of motor vehicle accidents across the state in 2018. Unfortunately, many such auto collisions occur during the summer months when the state's streets and highways are flooded with residents and vacationers. Although not all summer driving crashes can be avoided, there are things that people can do to help keep themselves and their passengers safe when traveling.

Watch out for other roadway users

In addition to added vehicles on the roads during the summer months, there are also numerous other types of roadways users such as pedestrians and bicyclists. When traveling, drivers should be mindful of others on the road. Motorists are advised to always keep an eye out for pedestrians and bicyclists as they can be difficult to see, may act unpredictably and are sometimes distracted. By obeying the traffic laws and signaling their intentions before merging or changing lanes, drivers may help other road users anticipate their actions, which may help prevent potentially serious or fatal pedestrian-involved collisions.

Stay focused behind the wheel

From cell phones to radios and infotainment systems to passengers, distractions abound for drivers. As a result of these behaviors that take people's minds off the task of driving, hands off the wheel or eyes of the road, they may not see or be able to act in time to avoid hazards and other situations while behind the wheel. Therefore, it is important that motorists stay focused while driving. They should avoid talking on the phone, texting and engaging in other distracting activities.

Avoid alcohol

Drinking alcohol or using drugs can result in impairments such as decreased motor skills, delayed reaction times, and altered judgment and perception, all of which may contribute to a risk for serious motor vehicle collisions. In fact, almost one-third of traffic-related fatalities across the U.S. are the result of drunk driving crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. People should refrain from drinking if they are driving and, if they do choose to consume alcoholic beverages, they should make alternative travel arrangements.

Taking legal action

When people are involved in collisions on California roads, the effects may be devastating. In addition to dealing with the physical challenges of their injuries, they may also face concerns over their medical bills, loss of wages, and providing for themselves and their families. Under some circumstances, the drivers responsible for causing such accidents may be held financially responsible for these and other associated damages. Therefore, those who have been involved in traffic crashes may find it helpful to meet with an attorney to discuss their options for pursuing compensation.