National Roadside Traffic Safety Awareness Month is an observance that is designed to reduce fatalities and injuries on our roads and highways with traffic accidents, especially among pedestrians, who are more likely to be fatally struck by vehicles at night than in the daytime.
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the deadliest months of the year have been the “vacation months,” meaning July through October. Here are a couple nationwide statistics from 2015:
- Memorial Day Weekend — 424 killed, 40% of involved drivers were impaired;
- Fourth of July Weekend — 409 killed, 36% of involved drivers were impaired; and,
- Labor Day Weekend — 460 killed, 33% of the involved drivers were alcohol-impaired.
Even though traffic is typically greater during the day than at night, more than a third of all fatal accidents occur during the dusk/night/dawn hours. And it is no coincidence, that drivers involved in fatal nighttime accidents are more likely to be alcohol-impaired than those involved in day time crashes.
For pedestrians who have stepped out of their cars on the side of the road or are simply traveling on foot, the fatality rate during low-light conditions is alarming.
The United States experiences about 30,000 fatal traffic accidents per year. Overall, 29% of fatal accidents involve alcohol-impaired drivers, and as previous noted that percentage increases at night. About 5,000 of these accidents involve pedestrians hit by vehicles.
Here are some safety tips:
- If you are in an accident move to safety. Never get out of the vehicle to make or assess a repair or damage on a busy highway. Get your vehicle to a safe, out-of-the-way spot, then get out of the car if at all possible. If it is an emergency, such as a fire, do not stand at the side of the car closest to traffic; position yourself on the “shoulder” side of the vehicle, so that your vehicle is between you and the traffic.
- If your car breaks down, call for help. Stay in your vehicle and use a cell phone to call for help. Do not stand outside the vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary and if that is the case, do not stand near the flow of traffic.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Make sure you have a strong flashlight, flares or reflective triangles so you can mark your location in an emergency. Turn on your hazard lights so that other drivers can see you ahead. – to be safe, you must be seen.
- Carry a roadside safety kit with the following:
- First aid kit
- Flashlight with traffic/safety wand
- Jumper cables
- Canned instant tire inflator
- Heavy-duty rope
- Water and non-perishable food items
- Gloves and warm blanket for winter breakdowns
We encourage drivers to remain safe during this deadly time on the road and hope that by bringing your attention to this we can reduce the number of fatalities along our roads and highways during July, one of the deadliest months of the year. We ask drivers, and pedestrians alike, to be extra vigilant during “vacation months and weekends” which statistically have more fatalities.
This information is brought to you by the personal injury law firm of Hardee, Massey & Blodgett, LLP located in Greenville, NC.