Summer is fast approaching in Pennsylvania, and you may find yourself wondering if the main danger on the roads is over. After all, it feels like winter is really the season of risk. You have ice, snow, slush and unexpected storms. Going out in your car makes you feel like you’re on the edge of an accident all of the time.
The summer, on the other hand, offers you clean, dry roads and plenty of days of beautiful weather. You don’t have to worry about suddenly losing control of your car or sliding into oncoming traffic.
But does that mean the summer has fewer accidents? Or are there actually more?
The IIHS report
Perhaps counterintuitively, the summer is actually the most dangerous season. It leads to a higher amount of deadly traffic accidents than the winter. That information comes from an IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) report that came out in 2017. It looked at data stretching all the way back to 1998.
The report even found that winter is not the second-most dangerous season, at least when you look at fatal accident statistics. That distinction goes to autumn.
The deadliest months were July and August, where the average death toll clocked in at 116 fatalities per day. After that came June, October and then September.
The lowest number of deaths actually happened in January and February. That means that the heart of winter, with perhaps the worst weather and the worst driving conditions, led to the least amount of fatal wrecks.
This is not the first study that the IIHS has carried out on this topic, and they found that the trends looked identical this time around. “Roadway deaths have declined since our original study, but the pattern of deaths is unchanged,” said the vice president. “The riskiest times remain risky.”
How could the summer be most dangerous and the winter be safest? The reason, it turns out, is just a decline in miles traveled. People spend far less time on the road in the winter, and that means fewer traffic fatalities. That explains why there is such a drop in January and February, as the holiday season wraps up.
To underscore this change, there was one outlier in January: New Year’s Day. In an otherwise safe month, that day saw an average of 135 fatalities every year. The reason, of course, is that it is a holiday. That increases traffic, means people do not have to work, and puts more of them on the road. Plus, it is a “drinking holiday,” which can increase DUI accidents.
If you get injured in a car accident this summer, you need to know all of the rights you have to seek compensation.