As the Alaskan summer gets into full swing, safety is as important as ever. We are all working and playing harder with more daylight, which means more drivers on the road – many of which are in a hurry or getting tired.
Studies show the highest number of fatal accidents occur in summer. Several factors contribute to this:
Road Maintenance: It’s been said that we have two seasons in Alaska: Winter and Road Maintenance. Nearly 700 fatalities occur each year in road maintenance zones, so slow down and stay alert.
Increased Traffic: Alaskan summers provide unique opportunities to explore nature in all its glory. Everyone wants to be outside in summer – hiking, fishing, camping, and visiting friends. You are more likely to be on the road — and so is everyone else. With heavier travel comes increased risk from people:
- exhausted from their adventures;
- distracted by the scenery;
- can’t wait to post their adventures on Instagram;
- coordinating plans with friends over the phone;
- impatient with waiting for traffic, and
- who are visiting and are unfamiliar with the roads.
The best way to prevent accidents is to be careful. Slow down, be patient, and watch out for the other guy.
Cyclists: Anchorage has seen a dramatic increase in bicycle use in recent years. It can be easy to forget about sharing the road with bicycles after a long winter. Drivers who have hit cyclists almost always say the same frightening thing: “I never saw him before I hit him.”
Start looking out for everybody, including other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
Give them 3 feet. More than 20 states have passed laws requiring motorists to give bicycles on the roadway about 3 feet of space. The 3-foot rule helps drivers by giving them a concrete frame of reference. Besides giving cyclists breathing room, it’s best for drivers to pass them slowly and smoothly. The motorist’s tendency is to speed up and get by the cyclists as quickly as possible. It’s pretty unnerving when you are on a bike and a car accelerates. You can also spare their nerves by honking only when absolutely necessary.