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 Holidays
The 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 Season
Although 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 Road
In 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 Roads
Because 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 Driving
According 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 Driving
Even 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
Plan Your Trip Ahead of Time
Making plans ahead of time so you know where you are going and what roads you have to take can contribute to a safer driving experience this holiday season. It is also a good idea to make sure your car is properly maintained before the holidays hit to ensure you do not have any issues on the road.
Leave Early or On Time
When you do not feel like you need to rush to a location, it allows you to focus on what matters most: your safety. If you are meeting up with friends or loved ones for the holidays, try to set a meet-up time to help ensure a safer travel experience.
Don’t Drive Drowsy
With all the events people need to do during the holidays, it comes as no surprise that people are tired and even exhausted. Although this is not necessarily an issue if you are in the safety of your own home, it can become one if you are drowsy and getting behind the wheel. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and has been known to result in devastating and deadly accidents.
Don’t Drink and Drive
For many, holiday gatherings and parties mean time with friends, great food, and an endless amount of booze. While drinking and driving is known to be dangerous, some people still decide to take that risk, putting themselves and others in harm’s way. This is especially true during the holidays. This holiday season, make sure to utilize ridesharing services or assign a designated driver before your holiday events to keep you and others safe.
Driving defensively often involves driving with full awareness of your surroundings, including paying attention to what other motorists are doing on the road. This behavior also includes keeping a safe distance between cars, driving the speed limit, and always using your turn signals to ensure that others know what you will do in your vehicle.
What to Do if You’ve Been in an Accident This Holiday Season?
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident this holiday season, do not wait to get the legal help you need. Instead, contact the Ward Law Group today for a free consultation and let us show you how we can fight for the rightful compensation you need.