The Holidays Can Be a Dangerous Time to Travel
The holidays will be here before you know it, as scary of a thought as that may be. Whether you are someone who counts down the days and minutes to “the most wonderful time of the year,” or you dread the holidays, it’s important to do everything you can to stay safe. Sure, the holidays are full of cheer, great food, and even better company, but they also come with inherent dangers. This is especially the case if you take part in holiday traveling. Sadly, Thanksgiving is one of the deadliest days of the year. With millions of Americans taking to the nation’s busy highways every holiday season, it is no wonder accidents are common.
Not only are there more people on the roads, but drivers of all ages are prone to distracted driving, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speed, and other costly mistakes. According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 people are killed on the roads on Thanksgiving alone. Today we are going to take a closer look at why the holidays are so dangerous for people that travel. From the most dangerous holidays to common holiday accidents and injuries, we hope you gain some insight as to why it is particularly important to drive with caution this time of year.
As Dallas personal injury lawyers, we have represented people on a wide range of cases following car accidents. When these incidents occur over the holidays, they are even more heart-wrenching. If you are traveling for the holidays this season, we encourage you to plan ahead and take extra precaution when navigating whichever roads you must take. The majority of fatal car accidents can be prevented by making small adjustments to your driving habits. However, accidents still happen. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one following an accident this holiday season, please do not hesitate to contact Rad Law Firm.
The Most Dangerous Holidays
Some holidays are considered more “driving holidays” than others. If you have loved ones in another city or state, there’s a good chance you will be traveling to spend time with them for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Other holidays like Memorial Day are busy travel days for outdoor enthusiasts and barbecue fans.
From most dangerous to least, here is a look at the deadliest holidays for drivers:
- New Year’s Day
- Memorial Day Weekend
- Fourth of July
According to statistics, the nearest holiday (Thanksgiving) is the second deadliest of the year. This is why it is of the utmost importance that you practice safe driving and encourage others to do the same. New Year’s Day featured a 95 percent increase in car accidents and a 54 percent increase in fatalities in 2016. That same year, Thanksgiving reported a 100 percent increase in injuries for accidents and a 64 percent rise in deaths.
On average, during the holidays, there is a 34 percent increase in the number of car accidents, and there are 38 percent more fatalities. Over the last several years, the number of holiday accidents, injuries, and deaths have slowly risen. In 2018, 36,560 people died in car accidents, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Common Causes of Holiday Travel Accidents
With Halloween over and November here, the holidays are in full swing. If you have to travel long distances for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday you observe this time of year, you must take to the roads with extra care. According to AAA, more than one-third of all Americans travel during the holidays. Of the 112 million people leaving the comfort of their homes this season, 102 million opt to go by car. This number increases by roughly 4.4 percent every year, meaning there will be even more people on the highways this coming Thanksgiving.
With these numbers in mind, let’s go over some of the most common causes of holiday travel accidents:
- Road congestion – It’s simple math – the more people on the roads, the higher the chance for accidents.
- Driving under the influence – Drunk driving is a problem at any time of the year, but this is particularly the case during the holidays. Before heading to your next holiday party this year, have a designated driver in place or take a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft.
- Stress and road rage – Driving can be stressful in Texas at all times, but even more so during the busy holiday season. Unfortunately, the stress of travel can lead to road rage or other negligent driving behaviors that may contribute to an accident.
- Inclement weather – When the roads are slick, it is important you drive with extra caution. As we head into winter, you must pay attention to the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Failure to maintain vehicle – Before winter weather driving season is here, be sure and take your car in for a check-up. A leading contributor to fatal holiday car accidents is poor vehicle maintenance, which is something that can easily be corrected.
Stay Safe This Holiday Season with These Tips
Here are a few tips for staying safe when traveling this holiday season:
- Remain alert and awake when driving
- Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time so you aren’t rushing
- Avoid drinking alcohol when driving
- Avoid traveling during the busiest days and times
- Be prepared in case of an emergency
- NEVER text and drive
- Obey all traffic signs
- Pay attention to your surroundings, including other drivers
- Drive defensively and with caution
- Check the weather forecast
- Wear your seatbelt
Put down your cell phone, keep your eyes on the road, and ALWAYS have a designated driver if you will be partaking in holiday drinks. While these things may seem simple, they can save lives. If you’ve been injured in a holiday accident or lost a loved one, please contact Rad Law Firm today. Our experienced Dallas car accident attorneys offer free consultations and are here to discuss any questions you may have regarding your case today.