According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are usually more motor vehicle accident fatalities during the holidays than in any other period. In fact, on average, there are almost 800 people that lose their lives between Christmas and New Year’s Day because of a fatal car crash. To help you stay prepared this holiday season, Ward Law has compiled the following information to keep you and your family safe.
Car Travel During the HolidaysThe Automobile Association of America (AAA) has estimated that around 53.4 million Americans traveled during the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday. Out of those, 48.3 million were traveling by car. Florida was one of the top Thanksgiving destinations, with the most popular areas being Tampa, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale. Due to the lack of travel in the last few years, AAA predicted that 2021 holiday travel would rebound to levels seen before the pandemic. Even though the country as a whole has seen a significant shift in online shopping during the holidays, including Black Friday, there are still a large number of individuals who are willing to drive to a physical store so that they can shop in person.
Factors That Contribute to Increases in Accidents During the Holiday SeasonAlthough many factors contribute to the increase in accidents during the holiday season, the more common ones tend to include:
- Increased traffic
- Stressed and distracted driving
- Increased drunk driving
- Fatigued driving
- A failure to keep a car in proper working order
- Dangerous driving conditions
- Visiting motorists unfamiliar with the area
More Drivers on the RoadIn general, there are more motorists on the road during the holiday season. Increased traffic often leads to an increased risk of deadly crashes, especially during Black Friday, Christmas, and New Year’s, when more people are out running errands, shopping, or hitting bars and restaurants with friends and loved ones. Consequently, highways and streets become more dangerous.
Out of State Drivers Aren’t Familiar with Florida’s RoadsBecause the holidays are a time for families to get together, travelers often fill the roads. They may be unfamiliar with Floridian roads and traffic patterns. Increases in the number of people on the streets and highways may mean more distracted driving. Out-of-town visitors may be looking at street signs or maps, figuring out where they need to go, and neglecting to pay attention to the road ahead of them. This lack of awareness can lead to devastating collisions.
Increased Drunk DrivingAccording to NHTSA, drunk driving during the holidays, primarily from Christmas to New Year, is a significant problem. In fact, in one year alone, this short time frame resulted in over 285 drunk driving-related deaths, of which 100% were entirely preventable.
Tips to Keep You and Your Family Safe While DrivingEven though not every car accident is preventable, there are some things you can do to lower your risk of being involved in a fatal crash this holiday season. For instance:
- Plan your trip ahead of time
- Make sure you stay aware of the speed limit
- Do not use your phone while driving
- Do not drive while intoxicated or tired
- Drive defensively, making sure to remain mindful of those motorists around you