Stay safe this summer on Massachusetts road trips

Drivers have the duty to drive without negligence or recklessness and in compliance with traffic laws.

In the summertime, Massachusetts car trips can be pure delight. Many head south to Cape Cod to cottages or continue out on the Old King's Highway to the tip of the Cape through quaint villages and beach vistas. Some head north to Cape Ann for fried clams along roads hugging white sand beaches. Weekend drives to the Berkshires wind through historic country towns and rolling hills.

Unfortunately, when drivers on Massachusetts highways fail to follow traffic laws, proceed with negligence or even recklessness, or drive after drinking alcohol, bucolic vacations can be interrupted by dangerous motor vehicle accidents.

Summer drivers on Massachusetts highways face challenges:

  • Distraction by passengers, scenic vistas, maps on mobile phones and more
  • Congestion and heavy traffic during weekends and holidays
  • Thunderstorms with heavy rain, lightning, wind and rising water on roads
  • Glare from bright sun
  • Fatigue when drivers hit the roads after long work weeks
  • Construction zones
  • Inexperienced teen drivers on summer break

Summer drivers have to adjust their driving practices and act responsibly to keep everyone safe. For example:

  • Do not check or use your cell phone under any circumstances. Pull over to a safe place if you need to check your location, the Internet or Facebook, or use email or to text.
  • Wear your seat belt and be sure all passengers do so.
  • Slow down in traffic and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Adjust driving in storms by reducing speed to avoid hydroplaning or getting off the road to let the rain pass, especially if visibility is impacted.
  • Avoid driving through standing water if you cannot tell how deep it is; drive slowly through puddles to avoid getting your brakes wet.
  • Wear quality sunglasses to reduce glare.
  • Do not drive when you are too tired; if you get drowsy, have someone else drive or get off the road.
  • Try to drive during daylight and leave early to miss rush hour.
  • If you can, take off of work and travel midweek rather than on weekends or holidays.
  • Keep your car well maintained to prevent breaking down, overheating or blown or flat tires. Keep tires correctly inflated. If you have mechanical trouble, try to get as far to the side of the road as possible if you cannot turn off completely and turn on your hazard lights and put out flares.
  • Slow down on gravel roads and roads with poor maintenance where cracks and potholes could be dangerous if driven over at high speed.
  • Watch in road construction for workers, barriers and cones; slow down in narrow lanes and follow reduced speed limits.
  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs or medicine that could make you tired or disoriented (and do not let anyone else drive in those conditions). If you are at a wedding or party, have a designated driver in your group.
  • Keep your gas tank full so you do not run out of gas unexpectedly.
  • Follow traffic laws, including speed limits. Adjust speed for the conditions.

If you are involved in a car crash, consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible about your legal remedies like a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. The other driver will have liability if he or she drove negligently, recklessly or in violation of the law.

The personal injury attorneys of Dane Shulman Associates, LLC, in Boston represent the victims of motor vehicle accidents in Boston and the surrounding areas.