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Published on May 14, 2013

University Trauma Surgeon Offers Safety Tips For Summer Driving Season

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― As Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer driving season and Americans take to the highways for family vacations, James Kessel, M.D., a trauma surgeon at University Hospital’s Frank L. Mitchell Jr., M.D., Trauma Center, reminds drivers to protect themselves and practice road safety.

Summer is the most deadly time of year for traffic accidents, and holidays are an especially dangerous time,” he said. “The combination of a large number of cars traveling at high speeds, along with the fatigue that often accompanies long road trips, can create hazardous situations.

Kessel recommends travelers give themselves plenty of time to reach their destination and adjust their speed for traffic and road conditions.

“When drivers are in a hurry, they tend to be less aware of their surroundings and drive at excessive speeds, which can increase the risk of an accident and the severity of an accident,” he said. “It’s important to pay close attention to the road so you can anticipate hazards and respond to prevent a crash.”

Kessel gave these tips for preventing accidents and reducing the risk of serious injury:

- Always wear your seat belt. Children should be buckled into a car seat until they are 4 years old or 40 pounds, then they should use a booster seat until they reach 80 pounds or a height of 4-foot 8-inches.

- Never drive after drinking alcohol. If you plan on drinking, arrange for a designated driver first.

- If you feel fatigued, pull over and take a break from driving. Go for a walk, drink some coffee or water, and eat something for energy. If you need sleep, park your car and take a nap.

- Avoid distracted driving, such as phone calls or text messaging. Safe driving requires careful attention.

“If you witness an accident, call 911 immediately,” Kessel said. “For traumatic injuries such as car accidents, the faster a patient receives treatment, the better the chances for recovery.”

View a YouTube video of Kessel giving safety tips for summer driving below, or by visiting this link

Dr. Kessel on Roadway Safety