It’s SUMMERTIME! The most fun, most laid-back, happiest time of the year. Oh, and the most dangerous, too. Just about everything that makes summer fun also makes it prime for personal injuries, more than any other season. Here’s why:
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), most traffic accident and fatalities occur in the summer months, with a peak during July and August. In fact, the deadliest days on the road are July 3 and 4.
Even though the winter months have the lowest overall rate of traffic fatalities, there are a few days where the numbers spike: December 23 and 24 (corresponding to pre-Christmas travel). For pedestrians, the most dangerous days are New Year’s day and Halloween.
Why might this happen? No one knows for sure, but there are a few theories:
1. People know to be careful driving during winter months, but become more care-free in summertime.
2. More people take vacations during the summer, which means fewer commuters throughout the summer months.
3. More teenagers are out of school and on the roads, and the summer months are their most dangerous driving days. (See our previous blog: 100 Deadliest Days)
4. While most people stay off the roads during a blizzard, they feel more comfortable driving during a severe thunderstorm. But lack of visibility, hydroplaning, and flooding are serious summer problems that can lead to car wrecks.
Plus, more motorcyclists are on the road, and they are at a particular risk from inattentive car and truck drivers, and from potholes left over after winter storms.
More than Just Cars
As for other personal injury dangers, summer also seems to be more dangerous. In addition to threat of drowning or other water-related injuries, thousands of people each year suffer burn injuries from fireworks, exploding propane grills, propane or charcoal grills that tip over, lightning-strike fires, and bonfires. And although the risks are minimal, every year some people get hurt at amusement parks, carnivals, rodeos, and state fairs. While the summer of 2015 has seen a rise in the number of shark attacks off the North Carolina coast, this is a minor danger for the hundreds of thousands of people who safely swim in the ocean (just don’t rent the classic movie Jaws before visiting the beach).
Another risk that many people don’t think about is injury from heat. The elderly and young children are the most vulnerable, especially if they are left alone in a car. (See our video about this topic: Hot Car Injuries)
But healthy adults are also at risk from heat exhaustion or heat stroke. (For more information, see our previous blog: Protecting Health in a Heat Wave)
This blog wasn’t written to scare you, but to act as a reminder that the “summer frame of mind” should also include a dash of caution. Stay safe!