With summer officially beginning on June 21st, temperatures are starting to rise. July is usually the hottest month out of the year and this was even more true last year when a new record was set. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), July 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded in human history. As temperatures rise so does the risk of heatstroke, especially for vulnerable children and animals left alone in vehicles. Since 1998, 912 children have died from Pediatric Vehicular Heatstroke (PVH).
Even if you’re not a parent or a caregiver, you can still do your part in preventing a tragedy. Always make sure to lock your car doors to avoid unattended children going into your vehicle. And if you see a child alone in a car, call 911, then try to get them out immediately. The same goes for dogs and other animal companions. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) states that in 2021, 59 animals died after being left in hot cars, and those are just the ones that were reported.
All hot car deaths can be prevented. Whether we are parents, caretakers, or just bystanders, we can all be alert and aware to make sure the number of hot car deaths for both children and animals no longer rises.
For many people, summer unofficially starts Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day. While the start of summer is an exciting time for most, not many people know that the time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day is considered the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer, especially for teen drivers. From the year 2010 to 2019, over 7,000 Americans died in teen related driving accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The NSC (National Safety Council) has noted an association between the monthly number of vehicle miles traveled and motor-vehicle fatalities. The NSC states that mileage and motor vehicle death rates increase during the summer months, particularly the months of July and August. So, don’t let your guard down while we are enjoying lighter traffic due to schools being out for summer vacation. Always be alert and aware of other drivers around you… summer vacation doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from good defensive driving habits.
With summer just a few months away we have a few tips to make your summer a safe one.
Summer brings sunnier days and sunnier days make for harsh sun glare. Sun glare can be extremely dangerous while driving. The NHTSA or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that sun glare is the cause of approximately 9,000 accidents per year. Make sure to have a pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes, but be sure to avoid frames with wide side pieces that reduce your ability to see to the side!
With summer also comes heat and we tend to change our choice of footwear to something lighter. While flip-flops are great for the pool or for walking along the beach, they can be a hazard while driving since they can get stuck underneath the brake or the accelerator. Experts even claim that flip-flops can actually double the time that it takes for a driver to brake. Flip-flop accidents are not that rare. In 2013, a study was conducted and it turned out that 7% of drivers who were polled had actually crashed or nearly caused a crash because of the flimsy sandals!
Have a safe summer and another quick summer reminder: Never leave children or animals in the car unattended. The temperatures in a vehicle can reach dangerously high temperatures in just minutes.