Is summer driving safe?

Are you planning a road trip this summer? Here are two trends to know before you hit the road.

Summer has officially begun! The days are getting longer, the temperature’s getting hotter, and vacation travel is up. But what about levels of distracted driving?

Arity’s 2023 distracted driving report, which was released in April, delved into distracted driving data, specifically, phone handling while behind the wheel. Using our vast mobility dataset, we looked at the frequency of distracted driving across the calendar year as well as the week – and some intriguing patterns emerged.

Here are two trends you should know around when distracted driving occurs:

Is distracted driving worse during the summer or winter?

For our report, we examined year-over-year trends from 2019 to 2022, and we found that the frequency of distracted driving tends to be lowest in mid-summer. Distraction tends to increase during late fall and early winter, when adverse weather conditions are more likely.

Source: Crash course: The state of distracted driving in the U.S.

There could be several factors influencing these patterns. For one, higher speeds necessitate more attentive driving – and that’s reflected in the data. During the summer people are driving faster, potentially due to lighter traffic because of school closures, and distracted driving levels are low. During the colder months, people may be driving slower, potentially due to rain or snow, and distracted driving levels are heightened.

Is distracted driving worse on weekdays or weekends?

Similarly, the frequency of distracted driving tends to increase during the weekdays when people are commuting and dealing with heavier traffic. However, on Sundays when traffic levels are comparatively lower, people are driving faster, focusing more, and driving less distracted.

Source: Crash course: The state of distracted driving in the U.S.

So if you’re planning a road trip this summer, Sundays may be a safer time to hit the roads as distracted driving levels tend to be lower.

Why does this matter?

While we can say summer is a relatively safer time of year in terms of distracted driving, the difference is not substantial enough to feel safe and secure on our roads. The threat of distracted driving is prevalent year-round.

As a part of our mission to make transportation safer for everyone, we want to change that. And the first step to combating the issue is to quantify it in order to understand it. With these insights, we believe we can help stop and prevent distracted driving.

Here are four ways our data can be used to achieve this:

  • Auto insurers can motivate safer driving behaviors using our Routely app or Arity SDK (within their own apps) to incentivize and coach drivers to decrease risky behaviors behind the wheel.
  • Auto insurance marketers can encourage safe driving, using our Marketing solutions to advertise tangible rewards for safe drivers. This not only encourages safe drivers to continue their safe driving habits but can also influence riskier drivers to drive safer.
  • Cities and their Departments of Transportation can create safer roads and save lives, using our data to spot risky areas to inform proactive safety measures and infrastructure improvements.
  • Vehicle manufacturers and dealers can help prevent accidents overall, using our data to market vehicles with enhanced safety features to risky drivers – including those who are most likely to drive distracted.

Want to help us save lives year-round? Read our full report for more insights, and contact us to learn more.

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Arity is a mobility data and analytics company. We provide data-driven solutions to companies invested in transportation, enabling them to deliver mobility services that are smarter, safer, and more economical.