100 Deadliest Days

100 Deadliest Days

With summer around the corner, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the added risks we face on the road during what is called the “100 Deadliest Days.” This is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a timeframe that often sees a spike in car accidents, including fatal crashes. According to the 2017 Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, there was a 21 percent increase in fatal crashes in the months of June, July and August.

During the 100 Deadliest Days, teenagers and newly licensed drivers tend to be at a greater risk because of their lack of experience combined with increased exposure to the road. Passengers also play an essential role. When teenagers and newly licensed drivers add a passenger under 21, the risk of being killed in a crash increases by 44 percent. However, adding a passenger over the age of 35 to a vehicle decreases the risk of being killed in a crash by 62 percent.

For experienced drivers, adding a passenger decreases the likelihood of getting into a crash. One of the potential reasons that risk is lowered is due to a greater sense of responsibility felt by the driver and the passengers to help rather than hinder the driver. It is important to remember that whether you are a driver or passenger in a vehicle, we all have a responsibility to share the road safely. Here’s how you can help reduce the alarming trend.

Tips for Drivers during 100 Deadliest Days

  • Avoid distractions. Getting to your destination safely should be your goal. Visual, physical and cognitive distractions take your attention off the road and increase the likelihood of a crash.
  • Drive at a safe speed. Posted speed limits are there for a reason. However, Minnesota’s basic speeding law says we can only drive at a speed reasonable under existing conditions, which is often below the posted speed limit.
  • Don’t drive while impaired. Plan a safe and sober ride. Impairment starts after the first drink. Alcohol and drugs affect judgment, vision, reaction time, attention, steering, coordination and balance.

Tips for Passengers during 100 Deadliest Days

  • Be a good co-pilot. Help with navigation and manage the radio, temperature and other passengers.
  • Avoid loud or emotional conversations. Keep conversations at a reasonable level. Pause conversations or turn down the radio when a driver needs more concentration.
  • Don’t be a distraction. Refrain from actions that may take the driver’s mind, eyes or hands away from the task of driving. Looking at a phone, taking selfies, offering food or pointing out something outside the vehicle are all possible risky behaviors.