Despite a pandemic, expect the roads to be busy this holiday season. With more cars on the road, come more accidents.
Almost 60% of Americans will travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, and over three-quarters of those will be driving to their destinations, according to TripAdvisor. Most trips will be shorter, as in day trips or one night. Expect fatigued or drowsy drivers, possibly speeding and driving at night after a glass of alcohol, all of which lead to an increased risk of an accident.
In addition to Thanksgiving, the Christmas to New Year’s week is dangerous for drivers. In 2019, 454 people died in a motor vehicle accident over the Thanksgiving weekend and 799 in the week between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Leaving out the Covid impact, how can you stay safe on the road this holiday season and avoid an accident? Be aware of these common causes of holiday traffic incidents:
- Drunk driving – driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs continues to be a leading cause of traffic-related accidents and fatalities during the holiday season. Don’t do it. Have a sober relative or friend drive, or don a mask and call a ride-sharing service.
- Distracted driving – despite laws against texting, distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of accidents, particularly during the holiday season. Reading emails or texts, looking at your phone for driving directions, or checking social media all distract you from the road. Simply checking a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds or more. Leave the devices in the back seat or turn them off.
- Drowsy or fatigued driving – driving while tired is similar to driving drunk. Reaction time to road hazards or other vehicles slows, and accidents happen. Multiple studies have found hundreds of thousands of crashes each year are caused by drowsy driving. Focus on getting a good night’s sleep the night before a trip. If you find yourself nodding off, pullover.
- Weather and road conditions – slick pavement, sleet, fog, rain and snow are all major contributors to roadway accidents, and more likely to occur around Thanksgiving and Christmas to New Year’s than other holiday times. Check the weather before leaving for your trip and plan accordingly.
- Speeding – this is still one of the top causes of fatal accidents nationwide. During the pandemic, drivers are taking more risks, including speeding. Slow down, drive the speed limit or slower if weather conditions are bad, and watch out for other drivers.
- Nighttime driving – more fatal accidents occur at night than any other period of the day. Vision is impaired, particularly for drivers age 50 and older. Combined with speeding or bad weather conditions, nighttime driving is dangerous.
Safety Tips for Driving During Pandemic
While you are avoiding accidents, also remember to be Covid safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a mask when you will be within 6 feet of other travelers. When stopping for gas, use disinfecting wipes on the gas pump handle and buttons before you pump. Make sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer after using the restroom or getting gas. When you reach your destination, wash your hands with soap and water.
If you need to eat during your road travel, bring your own food. If you must stop, use the drive-thru or curbside pickup.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at The King Firm
If you or someone you love was injured in a holiday accident, you might be eligible for compensation. At The King Firm, our personal injury attorney has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results in your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.