KELLUM LAW FIRM – NEWS & RESOURCES
Road Travel and Safety on Holidays
With Independence Day almost upon us, here is a friendly reminder from the staff at Kellum Law Firm that holidays can be a dangerous time of the year, particularly if your plans include travel.
Tens of millions of Americans hit the roads around major holidays and we often carry with us certain traits which are not conducive to safe road use. Rather than relaxing into the spirit of the holidays at the start of our journey, most of us are tense, anxious and impatient. Combined with potentially hazardous weather conditions, heavy traffic, other drivers who are just as anxious to get to where they’re going as we are – it becomes a recipe for an accident waiting to happen.
Though most available statistics on holiday travel represent data from across the nation, Kellum Law Firm’s team of attorneys are used to seeing a spike in activity following the holidays – proof that we need to take extra precautions as we enter the holiday period.
Using historic data compiled from nationwide sources, lets take a look at the major US Holidays in ascending order of reported road traffic accidents and fatalities.
Kick-off weekend for the summer season, Memorial Day (weekend) is a dangerous time to be on the roads. Statistics show a 32% increase in traffic related fatalities compared with the three days leading up to the holiday period.
Part of the issue with Memorial Day is that people tend to both celebrate and travel on the same day. (DUI’s also increase on Memorial Day).
Labor Day Weekend
At the other end of the summer from Memorial Day, the Labor Day long-weekend break is for most of us the last chance to take off from work during the warm weather, and get out of town for a few days with family.
Road usage spikes throughout the weekend, though stats show that most people tend to take shorter trips on Labor Day compared with other holidays. Still, we’re all used to seeing traffic jams on Labor Day and more than our fair share of impatient and frustrated drivers, anxious to get to where they’re going as fast as possible.
Again, our Law Offices see an increase in calls post-Labor day weekends, most relating to road accidents and collisions.
Statistics show that the most likely period for road accidents to occur over the Christmas holiday is between noon on Christmas Eve and late evening Christmas Day. Many road accidents during this period involve people under the influence and this statistic increases even more when the holiday lands over a weekend.
In many parts of the country poor weather conditions play a part in accident statistics, so it’s important to prepare for road travel properly and try to schedule to be on the roads during less busy times and when the road conditions are suitable for travel.
New Year’s Day
Over 50% of traffic fatalities between late New Year’s Eve and late New Year’s Day are linked to alcohol consumption.
It’s just not safe to be on the roads in the early hours of New Year’s Day, even if you haven’t been drinking.
The second most dangerous holiday for road travel is Thanksgiving. The evening of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is notorious for slow driving conditions and road traffic accidents. Families on the move Thanksgiving day are often in a hurry to get to where they want to go and heavy traffic conditions leads to accidents caused by carelessness born from frustration and even road rage.
A decade ago the statistics for Thanksgiving day fatalities on the road were typically in the 500-600 range, though this number has fallen somewhat in recent years.
4th of July – Independence Day
Don’t say we didn’t warn you – the 4th of July holiday is the deadliest holiday of the year for road travel.
Almost 60,000 serious injuries were reported in 2017 and over 550 fatalities.
As is usually the case during holidays, alcohol related injuries and fatalities play a large part when looking at the data, even more so on the 4th of July than over the Christmas Holiday period.
Of course there are other dangers afoot on Independence Day, the use of Fireworks causes a large spike in emergency service callouts and subsequent visits to the ER.
There’s nothing more likely to dampen the spirits of a family reunion than one or more of your group being involved in a traffic related accident on the way to your get-together.
If you can do so, plan on traveling outside of the busiest days – get to where you are going ahead of the traffic and try to stay there until the holiday is over. This may sound impractical but it may be worth using up extra vacation days at work to improve your chances of having a safe and enjoyable holiday.
Never drive after you’ve consumed alcohol or any other substance that might impair your judgement. Though the old ‘don’t drink and drive’ statement is almost a cliche, it doesn’t seem to prevent people from taking the risk around the holidays. So just don’t do it if you want to be safe.
Don’t drive when you’re tired/drowsy. Again, statistics show us that many serious road accidents involve drivers lacking focus and concentration due to tiredness. If you start a trip and feel that tiredness is impairing your driving, pull over and take a break.
Avoid the distractions associated with GPS and cellphone use. Plan your trip, program your GPS, answer your texts, check your email….then put on your seatbelt and drive, leaving your phone unattended until you arrive at your destination.
Stay safe and have a Happy 4th of July from all at Kellum Law Firm!
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OUR ADVICE TO YOU:
It’s often the case that the outcome of an accident or injury claim can hinge on the smallest of details. While it may seem appealing to try to handle a case on your own, it’s rare that acting independently of a lawyer will yield the best results for the plaintiff. Therefore, whilst we encourage you to read the useful articles at our website, we strongly recommend that you seek sound legal advice before attempting to deal with any type of accident or injury claim on your own.