According to the United States Travel Association, thirty-two percent of Americans plan to travel during the next three months. The greatest number of people will travel by car the day before Thanksgiving.
With the increase of Americans traveling by car between December and January comes an increase in travel-related accidents.
In 2021, the National Safety Council reported that the highest holiday traffic deaths occurred during Thanksgiving, accounting for 12.8% of total vehicle deaths in November. While car travel has the highest fatality rate of any other form of transportation, holiday revelers tend to choose to travel by car during shorter holiday work breaks like Thanksgiving. The increase in car accidents and fatalities can also be attributed to drivers celebrating by consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel.
To avoid getting in a car accident this holiday season, we recommend the following.
Check Your Tires
The Florida Department for Safety and Motor Vehicles recommends that drivers check their tires before embarking on holiday car travel. Individuals should check the tread depth and tire pressure while ensuring a spare tire is readily available in case of a flat tire or blowout. Tires that are in proper working order are often a driver’s first line of defense in a car accident.
Do Not Drive Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
Every forty-five minutes one person in the United States dies in a drunk driving accident. Sixteen percent of car accidents involve at least one driver under the influence of legal or illegal drugs. Those figures tend to increase during the holiday season.
Before heading to holiday festivities, individuals should choose a designated driver or secure a rideshare service. Designated drivers should refrain from having any alcoholic beverages or taking drugs. If possible, party-goers should choose celebrations that occur during the day, as most holiday driving fatalities occur at night when drivers’ vision is impaired due to decreased lighting and an increase in drunk drivers.
Always Wear A Seatbelt
Drivers and passengers who wear safety belts are more likely to survive should a car accident occur. The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that an additional 2,549 lives could have been saved in 2017 if every individual had chosen to wear a seatbelt when riding in a motor vehicle. Federal Law states that all drivers, front-seat passengers, and any passengers under the age of eighteen, wear a safety belt or child restraint.
Follow Speed Limits
When a driver chooses to drive over the speed limit, the chance of being involved in a car accident increases.
In fact, the National Center For Health Research found that higher speed limits were associated with an increased likelihood of “death and incapacitating injuries”. As speed limits can change throughout a drive, drivers should always be mindful of following any changes in the speed limit and continuously adjust their speed accordingly.
We Wish You A Safe Holiday Season
Panter, Panter & Sampedro hope you keep these safety tips in mind as you enjoy a safe holiday season with your loved ones. However, if the unexpected does occur, our experienced car accident attorneys can work with you one-on-one to help you get the justice, recovery, and compensation you deserve. Give us a call at (305) 662-6178 to speak to a dedicated attorney.
Mitchell Panter, Esq., is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney, Community Advocate and Managing Partner at Panter, Panter & Sampedro, P.A.