After nearly 16 months of COVID-19 restrictions, many people are looking forward to kicking off Summer 2021 with big Memorial Day weekend. We certainly hope your long Memorial Day weekend involves friends, festivities, and fun.
However, holidays, especially summer holidays that involve outdoor activities, can be very dangerous for drivers. In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 415 people may die on U.S. roads this Memorial Day holiday period.
This would continue a worrying trend that we saw in 2020. Preliminary data from the NSC on the estimated rate of roadway deaths spiked 24% in 2020 from the previous year. This increase came despite Americans driving 13% fewer miles.
So, as you are out having fun in the sun, be careful that you also avoid getting injured or killed in a car accident. Below are some of the biggest culprits of holiday car accidents and some effective tips for avoiding them.
Fun in the Sun
Holiday weekends are notorious for being more dangerous for drivers than non-holiday weekends. Memorial Day weekend and other summertime holidays are especially risky.
According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 415 people may die on U.S. roads over the 2021 Memorial Day weekend. However, given the unique circumstances and the uncertainty about how people will behave now that the COVID-19 pandemic is on the decline, the total deaths could be as high as 502.
The NSC also estimates that an additional 47,300 people will be injured in car accidents over Memorial Day. Again, depending on driving habits, this number could jump over 57,000.
Pro Tip: Arriving at these estimates requires choices and interpretations. To account for these and other uncertainties, all estimates include a “confidence interval.” In other words, the estimate is often the median of a wider range—in this case, the NSC’s traffic fatality range is 337 to 502. Even these ranges aren’t perfect. The actual Memorial Day death rate for 2019 was 453, which exceeded the upper confidence limit of 420.
Celebrating a Return to Normal
As we head into this particular Memorial Day weekend after nearly 16 months of having COVID-19 restrictions in place, many people are planning larger Memorial Day get-togethers to celebrate not only the holiday but their ability to be around other people again.
Because the Memorial Day weekend is traditionally the inaugural celebration to kick off the summer, we could see a massive explosion of reckless activity as people try make the best of their new freedom.
With fewer restrictions in place and more businesses open, an increased number of people are likely to head out to celebrate. Moreover, K-12 schools and colleges are out for the summer, which will only add to the number of drivers on the road. As the roadways become more crowded, particularly with out-of-state drivers, accidents become much more likely.
Practicing defensive driving techniques and avoiding highly trafficked roads is a great way to counteract the increased road activity.
Distracted driving has become one of the most dangerous and deadly causes of car accidents. Increasingly, distracted driving involves texting, smartphones, or social media apps, but other passengers, singing to music, and rubbernecking can be just as distracting.
If you are on the road over Memorial Day, be sure to put down your phone and pay attention to the road.
Holiday travel often involves driving at odd hours in order to make the most of your free time. 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.
This is both because of decreased visibility and because drivers tend to be more tired and less attentive late at night.
Drunk or Impaired Driving
A pool party or day on the beach often involve alcohol. While revelry can be done safely, too often it is not. Drunk or impaired driving is a huge cause of road fatalities over the Labor Day weekend. According to NCS data, over Memorial Day weekend 2019 28% of traffic accident fatalities involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Worse still, drunk drivers are more likely to injure or kill other drivers than themselves.
If your Memorial Day plans involve alcohol, please designate a sober driver or call a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.
How to Avoid Memorial Day Traffic Accidents
Most of the car accident deaths and injuries that will happen over the Memorial Day weekend will be deaths and injuries that didn’t need to happen. You can take actions to decrease the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths that will occur on Florida roads this year.
Here are 9 tips that every driver can implement to keep themselves and their loved ones safe:
- Obey all Florida driving laws including speed limits
- Practice defensive driving
- Never text or use social media while driving
- Designate a sober driver or arrange transportation if drinking
- Never driver tired or fatigued
- Avoid common driving distractions
- Try to drive during the day
- Allow extra time to reach your destination
- Ensure everyone in the vehicle wears a seatbelt!
Get Help and Start to Recover
We sincerely hope you follow these tips and have a fun and safe holiday weekend. However, even if you follow every single one of these tips, there are still reckless and negligent drivers on the road that put the safety of everyone at risk.
If you or someone you love was injured in a car accident over Memorial Day weekend, we can help. Get started on your path to a full recovery by calling us now at 561.372.3800 or by taking our quick and easy Car Accident Quiz. Find out whether you have a strong case in under 3 minutes.
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