Why do DUI accidents spike in the summer?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Drunk drivers don’t just put themselves at risk of arrest and prosecution. They put everyone else on the road at risk of a crash. Drunk drivers generally have longer reaction times than sober motorists. They have trouble making the right decisions in traffic. Their mistakes can lead to major losses for other people.

Drunk driving risk can be hard to predict, as it exists at all times. People who overindulge in alcohol can decide to drive home at any time of day. A drunk driving crash could easily occur in the morning if someone remains impaired after a wild night of heavy drinking, for example.

Despite collisions potentially happening at any time, there are certain trends that experts have identified regarding when drunk driving crashes are the most serious risk. Oftentimes, risk is the highest during the summer months.

What does crash research show?

When looking at a breakdown of fatal drunk driving crashes, the summer sees slightly more collisions than any other season. Approximately 28% of all drunk driving fatalities occur in the summer, and the remainder are spread throughout the other seasons.

There are several factors that may contribute to the increased number of drunk driving crashes in the summer. One is the way that people celebrate the summer holidays. The Fourth of July, Labor Day and Memorial Day are all barbecue holidays where families get together and enjoy outdoor celebrations. Many of those celebrations involve a large amount of alcohol, and then people try to drive home afterward.

Crash rates tend to surge right around the holidays in particular. Each summer holiday is responsible for about 21% of holiday drunk driving fatalities, making them more dangerous days to drive than Christmas.

Family vacations can also contribute to drunk driving crashes, as people are more likely to overindulge when traveling. So many young adults being off of school for the summer also affects crash risk. Teenagers and college students may drink at parties and could then cause crashes on their way home afterward.

Motorists who understand the trends in modern vehicle collision rates can better monitor traffic for risk factors. Understanding that drunk driving crash risk is higher in the summer could potentially help someone avoid a life-altering or deadly collision.