We love so many things about summer. School is out, the weather is great, the lakes and beaches are inviting us to get away and enjoy some much needed down time. Summer also means more cars on the road, which can easily make it the most dangerous driving season of the year.
According to the South Carolina Public Safety Traffic Collision Fact Book, there’s a traffic collision every 3.7 minutes in this state. Every 13.5 minutes, one of those wrecks causes an injury. And every 9.5 hours, a crash involves a death—of a driver, passenger, bike rider, or a person not even in a vehicle. Teenage drivers age 15-19 are in fatal or injury collisions every 90 minutes in South Carolina.
More motorcycles are on the road during summer, and their numbers aren’t any better. Fatal motorcycles crashes rose sharply in 2021, higher than it’s been in decades. Last year saw 154 motorcycle deaths, which is more than any year since 1980—the first year South Carolina compiled its Collision Fact Book. By comparison, there were 116 in 2020.
There are several main causes for these wrecks and alcohol is high on the list. The Centers for Disease Control ranks South Carolina 10th highest among all states in alcohol-related deaths, which is unusually high for its population. In 2019, this state had 276 traffic deaths involving alcohol, and that number jumped to 315 in 2020. Drinking increased during the Covid pandemic, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving attributes the rise in fatalities to more people being on the road since restrictions relaxed.
Speed is certainly a factor in summer traffic crashes. People are in a hurry to get where they’re going, and summer trips are no exception. They want to get out of town and start their vacations as soon as possible. Many drivers push beyond speed limits, which leads to senseless crashes and injuries. And one of the biggest factors is distracted driving. Cell phones are one of the worst distractions for any driver, and glancing at a phone screen for just a second can lead to a fatal accident.
So, what can you do to help make road travel safer in the summer? We can all slow down and obey posted speed limits—on interstates, smaller highways, and on streets in any town. Combining drinking and driving is always a bad idea, so make sure there are designated drivers in every group. Wearing a motorcycle helmet can reduce your chance of injury by 37%. Most importantly, put down the phone while driving, so you can pay full attention to the road in front of you and the other drivers around you.
If you’re in a wreck, call the police—and get medical treatment if you are injured. Make a video recording of the other driver and get them to provide an account of what happened. If they won’t do that, at least call 911 to have the local authorities or SC Highway Patrol make an official record of the collision. Keep in mind, if it ain’t documented the at fault insurance company will say it didn’t happen. If you’re an accident victim, don’t hesitate to call Trammell & Mills at (864) 485-8585 to get the medical and financial compensation you deserve. Be careful out there, and have a safe summer on the road!