The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer: Staying Safe During Summer Travel

Rooftop BBQs, long days at the beach, and an endless string of parades, festivals, and concerts make Chicago the place to be once the temperature rises. City residents, Illinois suburbanites, and families from across the Midwest flock to our great city to see what Chicago summertime has to offer. Many residents also take advantage of the warm weather to travel elsewhere and vacation with family or friends.

However, a deadly trend accompanies the sunshine and fun: the 100 deadliest days. The 100 deadliest days span from Memorial Day to Labor Day, creating a spike in death rates caused by motor vehicle collisions. These numbers especially increase for teen drivers, with around 1,022 people perishing in accidents involving teens within those 100 days of summer each year. That’s around 10 lives lost every day.

During the summer motor vehicle collision rates experience a significant increase. With young and inexperienced drivers free from their textbooks, tourists coming into the city, and residents exiting, there are more vehicles on the road creating a higher chance for collisions. Chicago and the whole state of Illinois experience increased traffic and congestion on expressways making travel more dangerous.

It is important when heading out of town with your loved ones to exercise extreme caution so that your summer vacation is filled with happy memories, rather than an expensive auto-repair bill or injuries. Here are some of our tips for keeping your summer accident free!

1. Plan Ahead: Make sure your vehicle is functioning properly prior to departure to avoid unexpected hiccups or accident causing malfunctions. The rising summer temperature also makes it easier for cars to overheat.

Always make sure you have enough gas! Hitting an empty tank in the middle of a busy highway is both frustrating and dangerous.

2. Avoid Distracted Driving: We all rely on GPS to help us get around, but it is still a good idea to know where you’re going before you get behind the wheel. Having to constantly check your phone or GPS can cause you to become distracted from the road. It is always a good idea to have an attentive co-pilot in your passenger seat who can handle the navigation duties, allowing the driver to focus solely on the road in front of her.

If traveling with small children try and plan activities ahead of time to avoid meltdowns. A screaming toddler won’t help when navigating through eight lanes of rush hour traffic.

And importantly, NO TEXTING & DRIVING!

3. Be Ready for Congested Traffic: If stuck in congested traffic, leave more space than usual between your vehicle and those ahead in case of a rear end collision. It is also a good idea to slow your speed during heavy traffic to prepare for unexpected stops.

4. If Drinking, Always have a Designated Driver: Summer is the time to kick back and relax. Whether heading to an ocean destination or having a stay-cation in your own hometown, if you choose to enjoy a drink do not get behind the wheel.

If you’re celebrating a holiday weekend or heading to one of Chicago’s great fests or festivals plan ahead to have a designated driver or opt for public transportation. A drunk driving accident cannot be undone once one happens and the fallout from a crash may affect your life and the lives of others involved forever, especially if injuries or fatalities happen.

Prior Blog Entry:

Wet Road Driving Tips to Avoid an Accident, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published July 25, 2016.


AAA: 100 ‘deadliest days’ of summer: Teens on the road after Memorial Day, by Bart Jansen, USA Today, published June 1, 2016.

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