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100 Deadliest Days of Summer Auto Accident Safety Guide


May 2022

Summer brings warm weather and good times to our Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and the Dakotas, but it also adds traffic to our roadways. We encourage you to drive smart and drive defensively with all the additional drivers and vehicles on the road. After all, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the 100 deadliest days on the state’s thoroughfares.

The MN DPS collects data on traffic fatalities. Each year since 2017, the number of deaths during the 100 days between the pair of holiday weekends has risen. The unfortunate figure was 121 in 2017. By 2021, it was 167. Sadly, that is a 38% increase in traffic deaths and the deadliest summer on Minnesota roads in 14 years.

Let’s all do our part to reverse that trend. With the right strategies, you can reduce your summer driving risks.

Drive Smart This Summer

As you travel around Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas this season, we hope you will remember a key fact. Driver behavior significantly impacts roadway risks.

Four behaviors contribute the most toward deadly crashes:

  • Speeding
  • Distractions
  • Lack of seatbelt use
  • Drunk driving

If these behaviors don’t cost your life, they could cost court dates, fines and jail time. You might also harm yourself or someone else through these avoidable habits.

Fortunately, each of these behaviors can be changed. Slowing down is easy. Incorporate deep breaths and patience into your drives. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t let yourself feel like you’re in a hurry.

Using your seatbelt is a snap. To get your passengers to use their seatbelts, politely tell them you will not start your vehicle until everyone securely fastens into their seats.

Steer Clear of Distracted Driving

Everyone takes their eyes off the road sometimes, but this can be a deadly mistake. To reduce your potential for distracted driving, take these steps:

  1. Ignore your cell phone. Calls and texts are significant distractions. If a passenger is present, give them your phone.
  2. Plan your route before you start. If you use GPS, never program it while driving. Let a passenger handle this task whenever possible.
  3. Always intelligently manage music, AC and other features. Preselect any settings you can, and involve passengers if available.
  4. Use strategies to keep children calm and engaged. If a child’s needs arise, exit the roadway, stop your vehicle, and safely help the child.
  5. Avoid eating while driving. Food draws your attention away from the road.

Remember, when you need to address any issue that may distract you from driving, it’s always better to safely exit and stop than to divide your attention.

How to Make Safer Phone Choices While Driving

To curb distraction driving, states are introducing laws that prohibit holding your phone while operating a vehicle. For example, Minnesota’s Hands-Free Law went into effect in 2019.

In short, the law prohibits handheld calls while you drive or sit in traffic. Here’s our advice to help you easily comply with this type of law:

  • Connect your phone to your car’s Bluetooth system for hands-free calling.
  • If your vehicle doesn’t have Bluetooth, purchase a headset and mount for your phone.
  • Otherwise, never use your phone when you drive.

By not holding your phone, you will substantially lower your risk of a crash when you drive this summer.

Tips to Avoid Impaired Driving

Thirty-three percent of Minnesota’s summertime traffic fatalities have involved alcohol. You can change that. Simply follow these easy tips:

  • Choose a sober driver.
  • Designate yourself as the sober driver.
  • Call a ride service.
  • Use public transportation.
  • Book a room.

Always assume that some folks just don’t take public safety as seriously as you. Subsequently, you may encounter an impaired driver during any trip. Buckle up every time you get into a vehicle, and call 911 if you see a potentially impaired driver.

Important Motorcycle Riding Tips

New risks enter the equation when you ride a motorcycle. Please ride responsibly this summer. These essential tips can help you:

  • Never ride impaired or distracted.
  • Only ride on roads that match your skills, experience and comfort level.
  • Take training courses to acquire new riding skills.
  • Ride in groups where everyone’s skills match.
  • Only ride with a passenger if you have the skills and equipment for this scenario.

We also strongly encourage you to wear a helmet. They save lives.

Contact Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben

All of us at Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben understand the significant impact a violent crash can have on your life. That impact extends well beyond one summer. Our professional team of experienced Minneapolis car accident lawyers can manage your legal needs while you focus on mending yourself.

If a negligent driver injured you or someone you love, contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney by calling (612) 377-7777 or toll-free at (800) 752-4265.

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