Holidays are traditionally times of the year when more people travel than normal: Extended families want to celebrate together and individual families want to take vacations. Even this year the AAA estimates that roughly 50 million Americans will be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Unfortunately, holidays are also notorious for being more dangerous for drivers than non-holiday weekends. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 485 people may die on U.S. roads this Thanksgiving. NSC data also suggest that an additional 44,400 people will be injured in car accidents.
Causes of Thanksgiving Accident Fatalities and Injuries
What exactly are the causes of the spikes in road accidents and injuries over holiday weekends? Well, there are a number of well-documented factors that contribute to the overall increases, many of which you can mitigate with proper planning and care.
Increased Travel and Congestion
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are choosing to travel by car this Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the sharp uptick in the number of drivers also means the roadways become more crowded, particularly with out-of-state drivers who are unfamiliar with the area. In places like South Florida, this influx of drivers further crowds our already crowded roads and contributes to an increase in car accidents, injuries, and deaths.
Pro Tip: Other types of motor vehicle accidents are in play here too. Families don’t travel by motorcycle or semitruck, but motorcycle accidents and commercial vehicle accidents will be just as likely to spike given a general increase in road congestion.
Holiday travel often involves driving at odd hours in order to make the most of the time off. Leaving early in the morning or driving well into the night are common both for families traveling for vacation and for families heading off to visit other family members. However, crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that car accidents are three times more likely to occur between 6 pm and 6 am than during daylight hours.
Drunk or Impaired Driving
A long holiday weekend means festivities, and festivities often mean alcohol consumption. While revelry can be done safely, too often it is not. Drunk or impaired driving is a leading cause of road fatalities. According to NCS data for Thanksgiving weekend in 2018, 31% of traffic accident fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Worse still, drunk or impaired drivers are more likely to injure or kill other drivers than themselves.
Thanksgiving + Coronavirus = Perfect Storm
We would also be remiss if we didn’t address the elephant in the room: coronavirus.
Most Americans, Floridians included, have been living under the specter of COVID-19 since March. As we approach Thanksgiving weekend, people’s desire for a sense of normalcy after a 9–10-month long pandemic might lead to a massive explosion of reckless activity.
Again, holidays traditionally see increases in alcohol consumption, travel, and in corresponding vehicle accidents. Layer on top of that the feeling that people need to do something because it’s Thanksgiving and they haven’t done anything all year, and you have a perfect storm for car accidents.
How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
Most of the car accident deaths and injuries that happen over Thanksgiving will be deaths and injuries that didn’t need to happen. Just as the items listed above lead to increases in fatalities, you can also decrease the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths that occur too.
Every driver can help make our roads safer, whether you’re a Florida native or a first-time visitor. Here are a few tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on the roads over Thanksgiving:
- Practice defensive driving
- Obey all Florida driving laws
- Designate a sober driver or arrange transportation
- Never driver tired or fatigued
- Try to drive during the day
- Allow extra time to reach your destination
- Avoid distracted driving
- Ensure everyone wears a seatbelt
Eat, Be Merry, and Call Us
We sincerely hope you follow these tips and have a fun and safe Thanksgiving holiday. However, regardless of how many tips we list and even if you follow every single one of them, there are still reckless and negligent drivers on the road. Even if you do everything right, a single aggressive, distracted, or drunk driver can put the safety of everyone at risk.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident over Thanksgiving, we can help. Get started on your path to a financial recovery by calling our experienced Florida car accident and injury lawyers to guide you through the claims process.
The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to a full recovery.
Call or Text 561.372.3800
Schedule Free Consultation!