While most people believe that winter provides the most dangerous driving conditions, a survey found that summer is the most dangerous. In fact, the survey says that the Fourth of July weekend is the most deadly time for highway accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crowded rural roads and holiday-related drinking are among the many factors contributing to more accidents during the Fourth of July weekend. The U.S. Census figures show that about one out of five (21 percent) Americans live in rural areas. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has found that about six out of 10 (57 percent) percent of highway deaths occur on roads that it considers rural.
Some of the reasons include lighter traffic and pleasant scenery on rural roads that can lull drivers into a false sense of security. This can lead to unsafe speeding, distracted driving, unbelted or impaired driving and fatigue. These reasons can increase the likelihood of a crash.
In addition, after a crash, emergency response time to a rural areas and hospital transport times can be lengthy and jeopardize survival rate. Crash victims are five to seven times more likely to die from their injuries unless they arrive at a trauma center in the first half-hour following the crash.
The University of Minnesota’s Center for Excellence in Rural Safety (CERS) released the Top 100 Summer Rural Hot Spots, or the rural areas that have experienced the most fatalities over the past eight years during the summer months. While 32 states have rural areas in the Top 100, the states with the most “hot spots” are Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia
If you are traveling this Fourth of July weekend, don’t forget to buckle up and don’t drink and drive.