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Why the summer is more dangerous than the winter for drivers

It feels like winters in Ohio should be the most dangerous possible time for drivers. Snow and ice coat the roads. People slide off of embankments, get in rear-end accidents at stop lights and lose control on the interstate when their tires catch in that ubiquitous slush on the side of the road.

These are all very real risks, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) carried out a study that showed, without a doubt, that the summer months are actually the most dangerous. When those roads are clean and clear, accidents and fatalities go up. The study spanned an impressive 24 years, so this is comprehensive data that isn't simply linked to a momentary increase or an unexpected spike.

The most dangerous months

Per the study, the most dangerous month to drive is August. It's late summer, the days are still long, but school is right on the horizon. Curiously, August is past holidays like the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, which raise risks because of drinking and driving. August fatalities are so common that they even overtake the increase from those holidays.

The next most dangerous month is July -- perhaps evidence of the holiday at work -- followed by October, then June, then September and finally May.

What is stunning is that winter is not represented at all. That list represents half of the year. While October pushes into fall and May starts in spring, all of these deadly months fall on summer's side of the calendar. It appears that the snows of a white Christmas or the freezing rain of February can't compete.

It's not even that close. For instance, if you combine August, July and June, you'll see 29 percent more fatal accidents than you'll find in February, January and December combined.

More miles driven

One of the big reasons for this difference is that people drive around 20 percent more miles during those warm summer months than they do in the winter. More people on the roads, covering more distance, simply means more chances for mistakes to lead to accidents. Winter weather makes driving harder, but it also means more people just stay home.

Teen drivers

Another issue is teen drivers. Reports show that those from 16 years old to 19 years old have higher fatality rates and accident rates than any other age group on the road. During the winter, teens are in high school. The summer months often see far more freedom, road trips and late nights with friends. Teens just have more time on their hands, and this means the highest risk drivers are out in force during the summer. They're more of a risk than ice and snow.

After a crash

If you get injured in an accident this summer, make sure you know all of the proper steps to take after a crash.

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Cubbon & Associates Co., L.P.A.

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