Thanksgiving, along with subsequent holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, poses a higher risk for car accidents compared to other days of the year.
The surge in accidents during these holidays is due to multiple factors. Some of those are increased traffic volume, rushed travel schedules, distracted driving and an increased presence of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs leaving holiday festivities. When embarking on holiday travels to visit friends and family, it’s crucial to allow enough travel time. Avoid rushing, and if you feel too tired to drive, refrain from getting behind the wheel. Your safety should never be compromised for the sake of reaching a relative’s home during the holidays.
Holiday Car Accidents Statistics
For many Americans, a long holiday weekend signifies a break from work and an opportunity to cherish moments with friends and family. These occasions evoke a sense of tradition, from summertime gatherings to reconnecting with distant loved ones. Regrettably, these holiday periods coincide with an increase in car accidents leading to severe injuries and fatalities.
Numerous Americans opt for holiday trips, and driving, which holds the highest fatality rate per passenger mile among major transportation modes, remains a favored choice. Given that celebrations often involve alcohol, there’s a notable surge in fatal motor-vehicle accidents linked to impaired driving.
Ahead of significant holiday weekends— Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas—the National Safety Council (NSC) issues estimates for fatalities and injuries.
NHTSA’s newly published study, Alcohol and Drug Prevalence Among Seriously or Fatally Injured Road Users, found:
- Fifty-six percent of seriously or fatally injured road users tested positive for alcohol, or some type of drug known to have potentially impairing effects.
- The presence of cannabinoids (25%) and alcohol (23%) were most prevalent, followed by stimulants (11%) and opioids (9%).
- The presence of two or more drugs was reported in 18% of cases with serious injuries and 32% of the fatalities.
10 Reasons Why Car Accident Increase During the Holidays
Here are ten reasons why car accidents tend to increase during holidays:
- Increased Traffic Volume: More people traveling simultaneously lead to congested roads and higher chances of accidents.
- Rushed Travel Schedules: Holiday deadlines can pressure drivers to hurry, leading to reckless driving.
- Distracted Driving: Festive excitement, phone calls, and navigation distractions can divert attention from the road.
- Challenging Weather Conditions: Holidays often coincide with adverse weather like snow, ice, or rain, impacting road safety.
- Fatigue and Long Drives: Extended trips and tiredness from holiday preparations can contribute to driver fatigue.
- Alcohol Consumption: Festive celebrations may involve alcohol, increasing the risk of drunk driving incidents.
- Inexperienced Drivers: Family visits may involve younger or less experienced drivers, impacting road safety.
- Road Rage and Stress: Holiday stress and crowded roads can escalate aggressive driving behaviors.
- Reduced Law Enforcement: Fewer officers on duty during holidays may decrease enforcement of traffic laws.
- Unfamiliar Roads: Traveling to new destinations or areas can lead to confusion and higher chances of wrong turns or accidents.
5 Deadliest Holidays To Drive
While holidays bring excitement, they also pose significant risks for driving. To ensure your safety and that of your family during the approaching holiday season, your car accident attorney Woodland Hills at Bojat Law Group outline the most dangerous driving days and offer safety measures to protect you.
#1: “Thanksgiving Eve”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving (a cultural phenomenon called “Thanksgiving Eve”) is an evening associated with drinking and a big night for bars. From 2012 to 2016, over 800 people died in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (6:00 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday), making it the deadliest holiday on our roads.
#2: Labor Day
The second deadliest holiday to drive is Labor Day. A period for contemplation and marking the end of summer, Labor Day brings specific road hazards. Ranked second among the top five most perilous holidays, Labor Day necessitates increased caution and vigilance.
Over the last five years, 2,348 lives were lost during Labor Day. In 2021, there was a minor decrease to 531 fatalities compared to the previous year’s 530. Despite this slight decline, it emphasizes the importance of prioritizing vigilance and adopting safe driving habits during this transitional holiday.
#3: 4th Of July
On July 4th, America celebrates the birth of our nation. Placing third among the top five most perilous holidays, Fourth of July travel poses specific risks due to distinct factors.
In the last five years, 2,344 fatalities occurred during the Fourth of July. In 2021, fatalities climbed to 538, marking a 9.1% increase from the previous year’s 493. These statistics underscore the crucial need for vigilance and responsible driving practices during this celebratory period.
#4: Memorial Day
Memorial Day heralds the onset of summer, sparking a yearning for outdoor adventures. Yet, within this excitement, it’s imperative to recognize the potential hazards that come with this holiday. Memorial Day holds the fourth position among the top five most perilous holidays.
Across the last five years, 2,192 lives were lost during Memorial Day. In 2021, fatalities surged to 480, indicating an 18.2% increase from the previous year’s 406. These figures serve as a stark reminder, emphasizing the necessity for heightened caution and responsible conduct on the roads during this period.
During Christmas season, families unite to bask in the warmth and joy of the celebrations. Although Christmas presents its distinct road challenges, it stands as the “safest” among the top five most perilous holidays. Over the past five years, fatal crashes claimed 1,669 lives during the Christmas holidays.
In 2021, there were 395 fatalities, marking a notable 17.6% increase from the previous year’s 336. Among the incidents, 142 lives were lost due to driving under the influence (36%), 115 fatalities resulted from speeding (29%), and 66 deaths involved young drivers. While these figures highlight areas of concern, Christmas maintains a relatively lower risk compared to other holidays.
4 Tips To Stay Safe
- Plan Ahead: Prepare your route in advance, check the weather, and anticipate traffic. Allow extra time for your journey to avoid rushing and reduce stress while driving.
- Stay Alert and Sober: Avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or any impairing substances. Ensure you’re well-rested and attentive while on the road. Take breaks if needed to combat fatigue.
- Watch for Distractions: Minimize distractions by keeping phones out of reach, assigning a navigator if necessary, and focusing solely on the road. Don’t engage in activities that divert your attention while driving.
- Maintain Your Vehicle: Prior to your trip, inspect your vehicle for any issues. Check tire pressure, brakes, fluids, and lights to ensure your car is in good working condition. Carry emergency supplies like a first-aid kit and roadside assistance tools.
Find a Car Accident Lawyer Now!
After a holiday, the last thing on your mind might be legalities, especially if you’ve been in a car accident. Yet, reaching out to a car accident lawyer following such an incident can be crucial. Lawyers with Bojat Law Group are experts at guiding you through complex procedures and maximizing the outcome of your case.