When analyzing road traffic, it’s a statistical reality that there is more traffic on the country’s highways during the warmer months than there is in the winter. Granted, a minimum level of shipping has to get through at all times, but far more commercial movement happens when the roads are regularly clear than during the winter with road shutdowns, blizzards, icy roads and clogged conditions.

A Mixed Driving Field

Of course, commercial rigs and trucks are not the only vehicles that increase their number on the highways. Plenty of folks in private vehicles, tour buses, vans, and similar all get onto the same interstate routes and roads as the commercial shippers. And that entire combination increases the chances of vehicle mistakes and accidents as well.

Preventable Factors

Three big factors contribute to an increase in accidents during the warmer months, and they are controllable as well but often ignored:

  1. Exhaustion – Due to the longer hours of sunlight, most drivers tend to push themselves and go farther than they normally would at other times of the year. As a result, by the time the sun goes down and are trying to find place to take a break, drivers are far more tired than during a short sunlight day. Exhaustion has clear signs, but they’re easy to ignore. And that’s when mistakes occur missing a detail or change in traffic flow.
  2. Unfamiliar roads being driven – Anyone traveling far distances is probably going to end up on roads that he or she has never been on. That means complete unfamiliarity with the conditions, how the local traffic behaves, and an inability to judge the right speed. The easiest way to offset this risk is to slow down, but again many drivers are in a hurry to get to a rest stop or destination, increasing the chances of driving wrong for the conditions that exist in a new area.
  3. Not paying attention to vehicle maintenance – Maintaining a car in good condition costs money. And doing the same for a commercial rig costs even more. Some operators will pinch pennies on maintenance, trying to make old tires last longer or better that old brakes will serve their purpose just a few more trips longer. These bets are high risk and come with big losses when a blown tire or failing brakes cause a wipe-out.

Drivers can’t control commercial operators from making mistakes. But they can anticipate when problems are most likely to occur, putting everyone else on the road at risk. The best way to minimize these issues is to travel early in the morning after a good night’s rest. Get a good amount of mileage done in the first half of the day before lunch. Then relax and begin planning for a stop by late afternoon. While on the road look for commercial rigs and give them plenty of room. Don’t assume they see your car. And always be prepared for quick changes on the road.