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Holiday Car Accidents: A Guide to Awareness and Safety

The festive cheer of holiday weekends represents a period that many eagerly anticipate, looking forward to a time of relaxation, celebration, and joyous gatherings. This period often aligns with a significant increase in travel activity, as individuals and families hit the road in large numbers to reach their holiday destinations or return home to loved ones.

With more cars on the road during the holiday weekend, it makes us wonder: Do more accidents happen? If so, why? Keep reading to learn more about this issue.

Do Accidents Increase Around the Holidays?

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), holiday periods are associated with an increase in car crashes that result in serious injuries and deaths. There are many factors that come into play that can contribute to the rise in holiday auto accidents.

Reasons car accidents increase during holidays include:

Increased Travel Time

Holidays are the times when the roads are more congested than at any other time of the year. For instance, Forbes reported that an estimated 104 million people were expected to hit the road to reach their winter holiday destinations in 2023. With the increased number of vehicles comes greater crowding, which in turn raises the likelihood of accidents occurring.

This surge in traffic can lead to a variety of issues, such as heightened stress levels among drivers, increased fatigue due to longer hours spent behind the wheel, and a significant rise in the number of visiting drivers navigating roads they are not familiar with. All these factors combined can create a potentially dangerous environment on the roads during the holidays, making it imperative for drivers to exercise extra caution and patience.

More Alcohol Use

Amidst holiday celebrations also come drunk driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 1,013 people lost their lives in drunk driving-related accidents in 2021.

Furthermore, according to data from 2017 to 2021, over 4,500 individuals died in drunk driving traffic collisions in the month of December. Although drunk driving is a year-round issue, there's a noticeable spike during the holiday season.

Excessive Speed

The National Safety Council reports that in 2021, speeding contributed to 29% of all traffic-related deaths, claiming 12,330 lives, which averages to more than 33 fatalities daily. There were 11,057 fatal accidents directly linked to speeding. This form of reckless driving can also occur on roads during holiday periods.

These are a few key reasons that can lead to holiday car accidents. Additionally, other elements like distracted driving due to using mobile devices or interacting with passengers, as well as adverse weather conditions, including snow, rain, and ice, can significantly contribute to the likelihood of accidents during the holiday season.

What Holidays Have the Most Accidents?

Data from Statista infers that some holidays tend to have more road accidents than others.

The most dangerous holidays for drivers include:

  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • New Year's
  • Christmas

Independence Day and Thanksgiving top the list as the most dangerous holidays, with other celebrations not far behind in terms of risk.

Driving Tips for the Holidays

Driving during the holiday season requires extra caution due to increased traffic and potentially hazardous conditions. To protect your safety and that of others on the road, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides essential tips:

  • Plan ahead: Make sure your vehicle is ready for long trips by checking your tire pressure, brakes, and fluid levels before you leave.
  • Stay alert: Long drives can be monotonous. Take regular breaks, share the driving responsibilities, and avoid driving when tired.
  • Seat belt safety: A simple click can make all the difference. Make sure that everyone in the car fastens their seat belts.
  • No drinking and driving: If your holiday celebrations include alcohol, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation.
  • Adjust for weather: Be mindful of road conditions and reduce speed when necessary. Rain, snow, and ice require careful handling and patience.
  • Stay distraction-free: Commit to keeping your attention on the road. Avoid using your phone or engaging in activities that take your focus away from driving.

By following these tips, you can enhance your safety on the road during the festive season. The key to safe holiday driving is a combination of preparedness, awareness, and a commitment to adhering to safe driving practices.

Contact Our Firm

Holiday weekends are meant for celebration and creating lasting memories. Staying aware of potential dangers and adhering to crucial driving tips can help everyone contribute to a safer driving environment.

However, not everyone may follow these practices. If you find yourself a victim of a car accident, reach out to our experienced car accident attorney at The Law Offices of Caroline J. Nasseri. With over 25 years of dedicated service to our clients, we're here to help.

Contact our firm online or call (408) 912-2217 to learn more about how we can help.