August is the most dangerous month of the year to drive, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration because, the organization said, more people are out on the road driving in August than other times of the year.
During the summer, teen drivers are out of school and may be driving more unsupervised. Road trips and driving vacations increase the number of drivers on the road and also contribute to more collisions in August.
“August is a busy summer month, and we’re well into construction season in Illinois,” said Gianna Urgo, Public Information Officer at the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Urgo, the National Transportation Safety Board and AAA, provided safety tips for drivers at any time of year, but especially in August.
“It’s important to slow down and take extra precautions around work zones,” said Urgo, who said the number of miles of construction on Illinois highways was unavailable. “Always obey the posted speed limit and avoid distractions in your vehicle. No matter what, motorists should never get behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. And, as always, make sure that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”
According to IDOT statistics, as of July 30 there have been 555 fatal crashes, accounting for 614 fatalities, on Illinois roadways. Those numbers show an increase of 18 more fatalities this year compared to the same time frame in 2016.
“While drivers are always at risk, there are ways to reduce your chances of getting hurt or killed in an accident,” said well-known trial attorney Mark McNabola. “There are smart choices you can make behind the wheel.”
Mark McNabola, who leads the Chicago-based McNabola Law Group, concurs with the very practical tips that AAA offers for safe driving:
* Stay alert on your road trip: More than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel.
* Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
* Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving.
* Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment.
* Stay focused: NHTSA reports that distracted driving is a factor in more 10 percent of crashes. A recent survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 1 in 3 (31 percent) drivers admit to typing or sending a text message or email while driving in the past month; and about 2 in 5 (40 percent) drivers report reading a text message or email while driving in the past month.
* For driving in the sun, drivers should slow down and use extra caution especially while driving through school zones. Drivers should also: invest in polarized sunglasses that help reduce glare; utilize the sun visor to block out the sun; and leave more following room to help you see the vehicles ahead.
Christopher O’Neil, Chief of Media Relations at the National Transportation Safety Board, said his organization’s recommendations aren’t really specific to specific months, holidays or peak travel periods, but instead universal. O’Neil notes that drivers should not drive impaired, distracted or fatigued.