Summer Vacation Travel: Drivers Beware

April 25th, 2024

Family leaving for summer vacation RV trip

By Dean I Weitzman, Esq.


Summer Vacation Travel: Drivers Beware

Spending summer in the Poconos or along the Jersey Shore is certainly appealing for Philadelphia city dwellers and the thousands of tourists who flock to the East Coast each summer in search of adventure. Unfortunately, summer fun can come at quite a cost. Each year accidents involving recreational vehicles (RVs), motor homes, motorcycles and campers put an end to summer fun and cause catastrophic injuries and death.

Inexperienced Drivers and Heavy Loads

RVs, motor homes and campers can be a great way to travel the Eastern coastline, but the majority of drivers do not have experience handling such large vehicles. Many RVs and motor homes are rented and used for the week or weekend. Drivers often have never driven such large vehicles before and have never taken RV safety classes or training. The results can be deadly.

In general, the larger the RV, the longer it will take to stop when you apply the brakes. In addition, motor homes that have more than 30,000 miles on them might have brakes that don’t respond as effectively, leading to a delayed braking time. Many RVs may be pulling other vehicles and exceed the Gross Combined Weight Rate. When this happens, the combined weight can cause premature equipment failure leading to out of control accidents. For first-time RV drivers, handling an RV may prove to be a bit more challenging than anticipated, leading to increased accidents during the summer months.

Motorcyclists Hit the Road

As the weather warms, more motorcycle enthusiasts hit the road looking for that fun weekend adventure. Mix motorcyclists, RV drivers and other automobiles on already crowded summer highways and you have a recipe for disaster. In 2021, approximately 226 Pennsylvanians were killed in motorcycle accidents across the state, the highest number since 2008.

Tired Drivers

In addition to the dangers associated with motorcycles and RVs on the roadways, travelers driving to their vacation destinations may be overly tired from their travels, impaired by alcohol or even under the influence of recreational drugs. Vacationers often try driving through the night to avoid traffic congestion or to make the trip a bit quicker. While the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel have been well documented, few drivers actually heed the experts’ warnings until it is too late. According to the NHTSA, over 100,000 accidents occur every year due to driver fatigue and over 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries occur as a result.

If you choose to drive to the Jersey Shore this summer, make sure you get adequate sleep the night before. In addition to being dangerous, driving drowsy may also get you jail time. In 2003, New Jersey passed a bill known as “Maggie’s Law” that amended New Jersey’s vehicular homicide statute. The law provides for a person to drive a vehicle while knowingly fatigued is considered recklessness. If convicted of violating this law, a person can face up to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

If You Are Hurt in an Accident

If you are injured in an automobile, motorcycle, or RV accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention. Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents may take weeks and even months to become fully realized. Spinal injuries and injuries to the soft tissue of the neck and back can worsen over time leading to a lifetime of pain and suffering. It is also important to speak to a personal injury attorney about your situation. Unfortunately, many victims wait until it is too late to seek compensation for their injuries and as a result never receive the compensation they truly deserve.

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