Each year, millions of Americans hit the road to spend the holidays with their friends and families. With more people on the road and more holiday parties involving alcohol, does the risk of getting into a car accident increase during these times of the year?
Below, we’ll discuss car accident statistics focusing on the next three major holidays on our calendars: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
The Thanksgiving holiday is by far the most traveled time of the year, with most Americans traveling by car. Many factors increase the risk of getting into a car accident during this time, including more drunk drivers, congested roads, road rage, and driver fatigue.
Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed 528 people died in motor vehicle accidents during the 2017 Thanksgiving holiday period (between 6 p.m. on Wednesday night through 6 a.m. on Monday morning). Additionally, about half of those killed were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve
Year after year, accidents occur more frequently during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, many of these accidents being related. During this time of year, more parties and celebrations involve alcoholic beverages; combine this with the fact that there are more adverse weather conditions and fewer daylight hours and you have a recipe for disaster.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people were killed in drunk driving-related accidents in the time between Christmas and New Year’s over the last five years. Additionally, the entire month of December sees some of the highest rates of drunk driving-related fatalities—in 2016, 781 lost their lives in the month of December alone.
Staying Safe This Holiday Season
With that said, there are a few extra safety precautions that you can take when traveling during the upcoming holiday seasons:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good shape to drive
- Leave ahead of time and put directions in your GPS before getting on the road
- Take regular breaks or, if needed, pull over to avoid drowsy driving
- Reduce your speed and increase your stopping distance
- Adjust to the weather and road conditions
- Never drink and drive; know the signs of impaired driving
- Put the phone away and avoid all distractions
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident during this holiday, turn to the Mississippi injury attorneys at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman for help getting your life back on track. Contact our firm at (662) 222-0597 to speak with our legal team for free today.