Travel safety is vital throughout the year, especially during Thanksgiving week. More people are on the road at this time of year. With the increase in traffic, car accidents are bound to happen, but with some planning and focus on safety, everyone can do their part to reduce their risks.
When most people think about Thanksgiving, they probably do not think of injuries. The day more commonly brings to mind turkey, stuffing, and family get-togethers. However, with more family visits, there is more travel. With more travel, the likelihood of accidents increases. During the week of Thanksgiving, more drivers on the road, and bars are often busy the weekend after as well. Anyone planning to be on the road should be aware of the risks.
The National Safety Council (NSC) makes estimated projections for car accidents, injuries, and fatalities during the holiday season. The NSC estimates that between Wednesday and Sunday the week of Thanksgiving, there are likely to be over 50,000 non-fatal injuries. Estimates anticipate more than 400 traffic-related fatalities during this time. In addition to estimates and projections, the NSC also provides prior year statistics that clearly outline the dangers. Data shows that between 2010 and 2015, nearly 13 percent of traffic fatalities in November occurred during the Thanksgiving weekend.
The dangers of Thanksgiving travel are hard to ignore. Why are there so many accidents during Thanksgiving? Multiple factors add to unsafe travel conditions around the holidays, including:
Increase in Overall Traffic: One of the biggest factors in roadway safety is the number of people on the roads. While summer is typically considered to be the peak travel season, the day before Thanksgiving is often the single busiest day for travel. Many Americans take to the road to visit family and friends for the holidays, and some even travel to multiple destinations. With a dramatic increase in local and long-distance traffic, city streets and highways become crowded, and the risk for accidents goes up considerably.
Drunk Driving: The week of and after Thanksgiving are popular times for drinking. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly common for people to engage in heavy drinking on Thanksgiving Eve. If one plans to drink, they should arrange for a designated driver.
Weather Conditions: The weather on Thanksgiving can vary greatly by year and location. There is no guarantee of poor driving conditions, however, winter weather can become a great safety concern in late November. Snow and ice can be deadly when it comes to traveling by car. Before traveling, one should check the weather and plan accordingly.
Understanding the risks is an important first step to safe travel, but taking action is just as crucial. Following these steps can reduce the likelihood of a car accident:
Plan Ahead: Being prepared is essential when traveling. Ensure that the vehicle is in safe operating condition. Bald tires or worn brake pads can lead to an accident or make one more deadly. In addition, it is a good idea to pack emergency supplies just in case things do not go according to plan. Essential items, like bottled water, emergency blankets, and flares, can be extremely helpful for drivers.
Pay Attention to the Weather: Weather-related traffic accidents are common and can cause extreme vehicular damage. Icy conditions make road travel hazardous, storms can impact visibility, and any adverse weather can catch a driver off guard if they are not prepared. If one is preparing for a long drive, check the weather along the route. Conditions can vary a great deal from one location to another, and the last thing one wants on a long road trip is to drive into a surprise snowstorm.
Avoid Distractions: Distracted driving is deadly. Car accidents caused by texting and driving are far too common, and this is not the only type of distraction that can result in a crash. Be sure to focus on the road rather than electronic devices, reading materials, or other passengers in the car.
Reduce Stress: Travel can be stressful. Remember to stay well-rested, make stops during long drives, and focus one’s attention on driving safe and making it to the destination.
If a car accident does happen, a victim may have legal options available to them. After a collision, a victim should contact a lawyer to start a personal injury claim.
If you have injuries that were caused by a car accident, one of our Wilmington personal injury lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you with your case. We understand the law and your rights to compensation. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445. Located in Millsboro and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.