Posted: July 6th 2017
BRIGHT SUNNY WEATHER & CAR CRASHES
Canadians often think our dark, snowy winter roads pose the greatest danger to motorists. And we'd be wrong.
Studies, stats and human experience now suggest that the crazy, hazy days of summer are the absolute worst days to be out on our roads.
5 key points make the threat clear:
- Traffic: huge numbers of Canadians jump in their cars to get out and enjoy our short-lived warm, summer weather. Our summer roads are more congested. More pedestrians, children and cyclists join the traffic on warm summer days. More people and more vehicles are on the roads. Your chances of a crash and injury rise exponentially;
- Summer Break: most schools are out and so are children and teenage drivers. On average, teenage drivers have less practical experience behind the wheel. And also on average, more teenagers are tethered to their cell phones and devices. Inexperience and distracted driving makes a deadly combination for young drivers and for everyone else they meet on the road;
- Failing to Buckle Up: the nice weather and clear roads may lull drivers into thinking they don't need that seatbelt. In the winter, when we fear our car may slip and slide off the road, we naturally cocoon ourselves with every safety device available. But given the realities of dangerous summer driving, every driver should be belted in year round;
- Impaired Driving: MADD Canada reminds us that impaired driving in Canada kills hundreds of people and injures tens of thousands every year. The dangers of impaired driving are obvious to all yet the risk remains high on long weekends and throughout the summer months. Don't start to celebrate your vacation until you arrive alive at your destination; and
- That Beautiful Summer Sun: very recent studies by Sunnybrook physicians suggest that bright, sunny days play a surprisingly big role in car crashes. Gorgeous, sunny days increased the risk by approx 16%, across the board for all demographics, and wasn't explained by glare at dawn or dusk. One reason may be that our judgment is skewed by bright sunlight and it tempts drivers to speed. When we assume the road conditions are good, we drive faster. The authors warn us to check our speedometer and obey speed limit signs even when conditions are perfect. Bright sunlight is associated with an increased risk of a life-threatening motor vehicle crash. (From Abstract Jan.2017. Life-threatening motor vehicle crashes in bright sunlight, Redelmeier DA, Raza S. and Your Health Matters, Refresh your driving safety in time for the summer sun, May 15, 2017, Alexis Dobranowski).
So many Ontarians have heeded the winter warning to "drive for the road conditions" that we forget that driving safe and within the speed limit is a year round imperative.
Experienced injury lawyers have noticed this cycle for years. As tempting as it is to leave your cares behind in the summer sunshine, don't drop your guard. Our Ontario summer roads and highways can be deadly. Drive safe this summer.
Beautiful Summer Days On The Roads Are Dangerous