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Dreaming of California this summer? Not while driving, please!

The Bay Area is settling in to summer. The weather has been cooperating; school is out or will be out soon, and family trips are in the works. This part of California has a reputation for being laid-back, but we know better. We may not be blue suit and red tie types, but we work hard. When summer comes around, we like to take a breather, to relax our grip just a little on our daily routine.

This is not the time of year, however, to relax behind the wheel. The summer months are notorious for being the most dangerous for teen drivers — so much so that AAA has designated the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 Deadliest Days.” In 2013, the organization reported that more accidents involving teen drivers — accidents with injuries and fatalities — occur during the summer months. Since then, AAA has worked to raise awareness among young drivers, their families and their communities about the increased risk.

Inexperienced drivers are just a part of summer driving, though. There are also the “usual suspects” to think about: Drunk or otherwise impaired drivers, distracted drivers and drowsy drivers don’t take the summer off.

There is more to safe driving on California’s roads than keeping an eye out for erratic drivers. A few other risks to consider are:

  • Motorcycles: More bikers take to the road in the summer, and they aren’t just cruising the back roads. Take extra time to check your blind spots before changing lanes or turning. In more congested areas, remember than lane-splitting is legal in California: Motorcycles may ride between lanes of cars in slower-speed (less than 30 mph, according to state police) areas, making it even more important for drivers to signal well in advance of any lane change or turn.
  • Bicycles: More of these bikers take to the road in summer, too. Bikers are supposed to follow the rules of the road, but they may slide a stop sign or two on less well-traveled roads. Nighttime is particularly dangerous for bicyclists; even wearing bright colors and reflective gear or using bike lights may not overcome the basic visibility issue. Bikes move quickly, but they don’t take up much room in the rearview mirror.

We’ll continue this in our next post.

Source: California Highway Patrol

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