Allentown Car Accident Lawyer Discusses Holiday Travel Safety
The holidays are supposed to be festive with happy children, good food, presents under the tree, annual holiday shows, college sports, and fellowship with family members and friends. Nonetheless, it can also be a dangerous time. Accidents that happen while traveling may increase if drivers are thinking about what gifts are suitable for who, what to serve for Christmas dinner, what your New Year’s Eve plans are, and other holiday-related distractions. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an estimated 427 people may die on U.S. roads during this holiday period, and an estimated 48,700 people will suffer from injuries that will result from crashes during this time.
According to AAA, more than one-third of Americans will travel this holiday season. The record-breaking 112.5 million travelers taking to the nation’s runways, roads, and rails for the year-end holidays represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA has been tracking holiday travel.
What Causes Holiday Travel-Related Accidents?
There are innumerable reasons for holiday travel-related accidents, but some of the most common include:
- Alcohol. Although drunk driving is an exceptionally dangerous problem at any time, it is particularly dangerous during the holidays. According to NSC, alcohol-impaired driving accidents, meaning accidents involving blood-alcohol content of 0.08 g/dL or higher, resulted in 28% of the total traffic fatalities in 2019, and during the holidays, 36% of fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver. When traveling to visit family or back and forth to holiday parties, use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft or designate a driver in advance.
- Weather. When the roads become slick due to inclement weather, motor vehicles are more likely to slide or skid out of control. Unfortunately, holiday travel happens to be during a time of the year when the weather is commonly at its worst. So be aware of the weather forecast and plan accordingly. If you do begin to slide on an icy or slippery road, learn how to “turn into the slide” by turning your front wheels in the same direction that the rear of the vehicle is sliding.
- Stress and Road Rage. Driving can be stressful at all times but rises dramatically during the holiday season when drivers are in a hurry and tend to take more chances. Jumping yellow traffic lights is all too common, as many drivers feel they’ve waited long enough. Unfortunately, travel stress can turn into road rage or other negligent driving behaviors that contribute to an accident.
- Congestion. It’s a simple concept: When more drivers are on the road, there is a greater chance of accidents. And, during the holidays, there are indeed more drivers on the streets. So find less crowded times like early morning or mid-afternoon.
- Vehicle Maintenance. Take your vehicle in for a thorough inspection before the holiday season arrives. Poor or non-existent maintenance can present serious problems, all for very little reason since regular maintenance is simple enough to do or have done.
How to Avoid Holiday Travel Accidents
The risk of travel accidents during the holidays can be drastically reduced by following a few simple tips, including:
- Never drink alcohol before or while driving.
- Leave your phone out of reach when you’re driving so you’re not tempted to use it until you stop or pull over. Never text and drive.
- Leave extra space between you and the driver in front of you.
- Drive defensively, be observant, and expect the other drivers near you to make mistakes.
- Plan ahead, identifying your route and leaving yourself extra time to arrive at your destination.
- Always wear a seatbelt and ensure your passengers wear theirs. The NSC claims that seatbelts, when properly used, are 45% effective in preventing fatalities among front-seat passenger car occupants. An estimated 170 lives may be saved this New Year’s Day holiday period because vehicle occupants wear their seatbelts. An additional 99 lives could be saved if everyone wore seatbelts.
- Get plenty of sleep before you travel and remain alert while driving.
- Avoid the busiest days and times.
- Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
- Check the weather forecast before traveling.
- Keep your vehicle maintained and keep an emergency kit handy.
Let an Allentown Car Accident Lawyer Help if You’re Involved in an Accident During the Holidays
The holidays seem to trigger a particular attitude among many people. Many seem to have a subconscious notion that nothing bad can happen during the holidays. This is a particularly dangerous mindset since the holidays are actually a more dangerous time to travel than other times of the year. Nonetheless, travel accidents have caused more than their share of ruined holidays.
Plus, automobiles are certainly not the only motor vehicles involved in accidents. Motorcycles, for example, are particularly susceptible to accidents during inclement weather, and large commercial vehicle accidents can be particularly damaging and are even more vulnerable to “jackknife” accidents on slippery roads. When a vehicle towing a trailer begins to skid, the trailer can push the truck from behind until it turns around and faces backward. Add in bicycle and pedestrian accidents, and you begin to realize how dangerous holiday travel can be.
Even attentive and careful drivers are more prone to accidents during the holiday season. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident during the holidays, contact an Allentown car accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis for your free consultation.