Summer is synonymous with holidays, vacations, and travel. However, the season also comes with a significant yet underappreciated risk: an increase in heat-related car accidents. The rise in temperature, while inviting for beachgoers and sun-lovers, can lead to serious and sometimes fatal incidents on the road.
How Does Hot Weather Lead to Car Accidents?
More People Are Traveling
Whether it’s a weekend beach trip or a long-planned vacation, summer encourages people to hit the road. This increased volume of traffic naturally elevates the potential for collisions. Moreover, many drivers may be unfamiliar with their routes or destinations, causing them to be distracted or hesitant.
Young and Inexperienced Drivers Are on the Road
Summer break invites more new drivers onto the road. Teens and young adults, free from academic commitments, may take advantage of the weather to explore, host social events, or work part-time jobs. Unfortunately, their lack of experience can lead to risky driving behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, and late-night driving, increasing the risk of accidents.
Tire Blowouts Are More Common
Heat can cause the air inside tires to expand, which can lead to a blowout, especially in tires that are already worn or underinflated. A sudden tire blowout while driving at high speeds can lead to loss of vehicle control and potential accidents.
Engines Can Overheat and Fail
Engines work harder in hot weather, and without proper coolant levels, they can overheat. An overheated engine can fail, causing the vehicle to stop abruptly. This unexpected stoppage can lead to accidents, especially on busy highways.
Vehicle Fluids Become Less Effective
Vehicle fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid can become less effective in extreme heat. This can affect the overall performance of the vehicle, leading to accidents.
Tips to Prepare for Driving in the California Heat
Preparation is key to minimizing the risks of driving in hot weather. Follow these tips to reduce the risk of a heat-related car accident:
- Ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Regular maintenance can prevent breakdowns and overheating.
- Remember to stay hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, reduced concentration, and slower reaction times. Always carry water with you and take breaks during long trips.
- Always exercise extra caution when sharing the road. Anticipate the behaviors of other drivers, maintain a safe following distance, and respect speed limits.
What to Do If You Were Injured in a Heat-Related Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a heat-related car accident, it’s crucial to follow the proper steps to ensure your safety and protect your rights:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Your health should always be your priority. Even if you don’t feel pain immediately, some injuries may become apparent only after a few hours or days. Seek medical care right away to prevent complications.
- Report the Accident: Call 911 to inform law enforcement about the accident. Make sure to collect the police report, which provides an official account of the incident.
- Document Everything: Record the details of the accident while they’re still fresh in your mind. Capture photographs or videos of the scene, your injuries, and the damages to your vehicle. Exchange your details with the at-fault driver.
Once you have sought medical care, consult with a California car accident attorney as soon as possible. Heat-related car accidents can involve complex factors, making it difficult to determine liability. A lawyer can help investigate the accident, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for the compensation you deserve.