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Will you be safe driving to a family vacation this summer?

The annual death toll for car accident victims in the U.S. exceeds 40,000, and traffic fatalities are the primary cause of death for those 34 and younger. According to the spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving a car or truck is the most risky action people regularly undertake on a daily basis.

It's obvious that some times are more hazardous for driving than others. Illinois drivers may think that winter driving is the worst, but statistically speaking, a Saturday in August is actually the most dangerous time to be on the road.

What makes that time so dangerous? More people are on the roads on summer weekends (and on weekends in general), and some of those behind the wheel are newly licensed teen drivers with little on the road experience.

Some of those drivers will be speeding, as exceeding the speed limit contributes to 30 percent of fatal collisions. Alcohol usage also is a factor; 54 percent of accidents at night are attributed to alcohol usage, as are 18 percent of fatal accidents that happen in the daytime.

Nearly half of all fatal accidents occur at night. Approximately two-thirds of those who die at night are unrestrained by seat belts. Conversely, fewer than 50 percent of those who die during daylight hours failed to wear seat belts.

It's statistically safer to head out on the highway on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as the average of traffic deaths is lowest on those days. But if your summer vacation kicks off on a weekend, you can reduce the likelihood of injuries or deaths from accidents by obeying the speed limit, paying close attention to driving and insisting that all passengers stay securely restrained.

Surveys done by AAA indicate that distractions while driving remain a major issue, with 82 percent of surveyed drivers admitting to distracted driving. Over half reported talking on cellphones behind the wheel, and another 14 percent copped to texting while driving.

If you are injured in a car wreck due to an at-fault driver, you may want to file a civil claim for damages.

Source: Forbes, "Most Dangerous Times To Drive," Hannah Elliot, accessed June 10, 2016

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