June 17, 2023
This period, spanning from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is known for a significant increase in fatal traffic accidents across the United States. While all drivers face risks during this time, the dangers are particularly pronounced for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and their operators. In this blog post, we will explore the driving hazards associated with the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer and shed light on how they can impact CMVs and their role on the roads.
One of the key factors contributing to the elevated risk during the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer is the surge in traffic volume. As families embark on vacations and road trips, highways and interstates become congested with cars, RVs, motorcycles, and CMVs. The higher density of vehicles amplifies the potential for accidents, especially when combined with aggressive driving behaviors, distracted driving, and impaired driving commonly observed during summer months.
With schools closed and teenagers enjoying their break, an influx of young, inexperienced drivers can be seen on the roads during summer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. The combination of newfound freedom, distractions like smartphones, and lack of experience can pose a significant risk. Commercial drivers need to be particularly cautious when sharing the road with young, inexperienced motorists to mitigate potential collisions.
Summer is synonymous with celebrations, outdoor parties, and barbecues, often involving alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, this can lead to an increase in impaired driving incidents. Alcohol and drugs impair judgment, reaction time, and coordination, making it dangerous for anyone behind the wheel. Commercial drivers must remain vigilant, especially during late evenings and weekends when impaired driving rates tend to be higher.
The summer season often witnesses an uptick in shipping demands, requiring CMVs to travel longer distances and operate for extended hours. Driver fatigue becomes a significant concern as operators push their limits to meet delivery deadlines. Fatigue impairs cognitive abilities, slows reaction time, and decreases overall alertness, increasing the risk of accidents. Fleet operators and commercial drivers must prioritize sufficient rest breaks, adhere to hours-of-service regulations, and employ fatigue management strategies to mitigate the dangers associated with drowsy driving.
The summer months are prime time for road construction and maintenance projects. As highways and roads undergo repairs and improvements, CMVs often navigate through complex work zones. These areas introduce reduced speed limits, narrowed lanes, shifting traffic patterns, and temporary barriers, which can be challenging for large commercial vehicles to maneuver safely. Drivers must exercise caution, adhere to posted signs, and remain vigilant to avoid accidents or potential damage to infrastructure.
Commercial motor vehicles, due to their size, weight, and operational demands, face unique challenges during this period. As we embark on summer adventures, it is essential to prioritize safety on the roads. CMV operators should receive comprehensive training on defensive driving techniques, managing fatigue, and navigating construction zones. Simultaneously, the general public must exercise patience and awareness when sharing the road with commercial vehicles. By acknowledging these risks and taking proactive measures, we can collectively ensure a safer and more enjoyable summer for everyone. Remember, safety should always be the ultimate destination!