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Summer is actually the deadliest time to drive in West Virginia

Winter roads can present a host of risk factors, including invisible black ice and drifts of snow. Commutes can take much longer, and it's easier to lose control of your vehicle and end up in a crash. However, winter actually isn't the most dangerous time of the year to drive. That honor falls to the summer months.

There are many factors that contribute to the increase in fatal crashes during the summer. While you may not be able to control the actions and decisions of other drivers on the road, you can take steps to reduce your overall risk while driving.

There are more teen drivers on the road during the summer

The 100 days of summer are also some of the most deadly for West Virginia's youngest drivers. Vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for teens. During the summer, when they have the freedom of no school and the potential obligation of summer jobs, they spend a lot more time on the roads.

Those teen drivers may indulge in distraction, talking to friends riding as passengers or even focusing on their phones instead of the road. Others could choose to get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs at a party. While many teen drivers are perfectly responsible, others could end up causing a crash by making bad decisions while in control of a vehicle.

Fourth of July is a dangerous time to drive

The days immediately before and after Independence Day are the days with some of the highest fatality rates all year. Parties, days off of work and alcohol all combine to create a perfect storm of dangerous driving conditions, even if the weather and the roads are perfect.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, July 4th and July 3rd are usually the deadliest days of the years included in an analysis of crash data from 1978 to 2002. These two days remain very dangerous days to get on the road, especially in the evening and overnight when people may be headed home from parties.

Staying safe on the summer roads

West Virginia drivers can take some small steps to stay as safe as possible on the road. Consider staying overnight someplace close to your preferred fireworks display on Independence Day. Reducing time on the road on other holiday weekends can definitely help reduce your risk as well.

You should also watch for signs of impaired driving. Avoid driving in close proximity to people who swerve or otherwise drive erratically. Watch out for people whose hands are not on the wheel, a potential warning sign of texting. Promise yourself to never drive home when you're intoxicated or feeling tired. These minor changes to your driving habits could actually save your life by helping you avoid a crash.

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