Thompson Law’s Holiday Season Driving Tips
The holiday season has certainly rushed in this year, and as the days get shorter and the end of December approaches, it seems everything continually gets more hectic. Many holiday weekends throughout the year consistently rank as the deadliest driving periods, but the winter holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are particularly dangerous for holiday travelers. This sobering information can prove valuable in preparing for the busy season and serve as a reminder to us all to drive safe, plan ahead, and protect one another.
Top 6 Holiday Season Driving Tips
There are some strategies that you can use to help stay safe during the season. Taking a little time to prepare your family, your vehicle, and your mindset for the holiday travel rush can help you and your loved ones stay safe on the road through the season.
- Don’t Drive Under the Influence – choose to stay sober if you are driving, assign a designated driver, or use a ride service such as taxis, Uber or Lyft.
- Vehicle Maintenance – make sure your vehicle is prepared, tires have adequate treads, brakes in good working order, all lights operational, wiper blades replaced, etc.
- Defensive Driving – make cautious choices, watch the behavior of other drivers, slow down in traffic or inclement weather, avoid distractions like using your cellphone.
- Make Frequent Stops for Rests on Long Trips – drowsy driving is a major contributor to holiday accidents.
- Buckle Up – no matter who is driving, what seat you are in, or if riding in a private car or rideshare, always wear your seatbelt.
- Listen to your Loved Ones – if you are traveling visiting friends and family, ask for tips about driving in the traffic and weather conditions that they know better.
For more safe planning tips, check out our past blog here.
Holiday Driving Dangers
Greatest Holiday Roadway Perils
The holidays and the celebratory events they entail unfortunately create a perfect storm for accidents and tragedies on the roads. In 2017 there averaged 102 traffic fatalities per day, but on the six major national holiday dates of that year, the average increased to 119 fatalities per day. There are numerous contributing factors for accident spikes around holiday seasons, but a few of the most significant include:
Increased Traffic and Road Congestion
Bad Weather Conditions
In particular, drunk driving crashes contribute to over a quarter of holiday driving fatalities. A particularly deadly streak occurred in the years 2012-2016, where 3,995 people lost their lives in these accidents.
Most Dangerous Holidays
Over the past several years the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) showed particular regional and geographical concentrations of fatal accidents during the main holiday periods. Texas, while certainly experiencing an uptick in Thanksgiving time accidents, most significantly suffered high numbers of deadly crashes during the New Year’s period. The National Safety Council estimated 417 deaths in the United States during the Thanksgiving Holiday this year, and over 47,500 serious injuries, so it’s clear that we have reason for concern over the coming month into the new year.
Additional support for this concern comes in the form of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistical analysis from October 2019 predicting the number of holiday traffic fatalities for the year. The statistics are forecasted based on the rates of accidents during the same period in prior years.
Fourth of July Weekend – 594 predicted fatalities
(4/3/19 6:00pm – 4/8/19 5:59am)
Labor Day – 448 predicted fatalities
(8/30/19 6:00pm – 9/3/19 5:59am)
Thanksgiving – 454 predicated fatalities
(11/27/19 6:00pm – 12/2/19 5:59am)
Christmas to New Years – 799 predicted fatalities
(12/24/19 6:00pm – 1/2/20 5:59am)
These statistics become even more sobering when considering that Texas typically represents about 10% of the national automobile accident statistics each year. The implications of dangerous holiday travel will certainly be felt here at home if these numbers prove accurate.
DFW Holiday Accidents So Far This Year
Sadly these statistics are already being proven, as reported by WFAA Channel 8, Fort Worth saw 230 crashes with injuries between the start of 11/28/19 through 7:30 am on 12/1/19.
- This total accident tally is a 225% increase over 2018’s numbers
- This year there were 17 rollover crashes, an increase of 170% over 2018
- There were 7 crashes involving pedestrians last year and this year
- There has already been one-car accident fatality in Ft Worth over the holiday weekend
Dangerous DFW Roadways During the Holidays
Roadways that experienced the most backlog at the Thanksgiving Holiday may also be expected to accrue the highest rates of traffic over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As reported in real-time over the holiday weekend by patch.com, the following roadways experienced the most traffic bog down:
635 LBJ Freeway – Particularly at Preston Road
Dallas North Tollway – Particularly at Park Boulevard
What to Do if You are in an Accident
If you do suffer an accident during the holidays, it can be especially challenging and stressful to manage the ordeal. The holidays seem to be the time people find that their schedules most full and it can be a difficult setting and keeping important doctor visits and making time for treatment. Additionally, the financial strain of the holidays can be significant. Buying gifts for loved ones, hosting and attending celebrations, and travel expenses all deplete discretionary spending money that you may need for medical care or car repairs after an accident.
Your team at Thompson Law understands these challenges. This is why we work on a contingency fee basis. We don’t receive a dime of compensation unless and until you do. We do not want to add financial stress for our clients at the time you need us. We’re here for you, and we’re on the same team from the beginning.
Immediately After an Accident at the Holidays
Call the authorities and wait for police, EMS and/or fire response to get to the scene and make a proper report. If an ambulance arrives, be sure to get checked out for injury and cleared before leaving the scene. Exchange contact information with other drivers involved in the accident, including driver’s license details, insurance card information, and vehicle information. Take photos of the scene, including damage, location and identifying images of the vehicles and any property damage. Take note and alert the authorities if one of the vehicle drivers seems to be impaired or under the influence, as rates of drunk driving increase during holiday times. Every detail of information you collect about your accident helps your Thompson Law team win the best claim outcome possible for you.
Get Checked for Injuries
It is always important to get checked out for injuries following an accident and get a treatment plan in place. Having an accident take place over the holidays can be a complication for many people in the process of receiving care. You may be visiting away from home at the time of the accident, or simply just navigating this busy time of the year and feel like a full schedule is prohibiting a doctor’s visit. Please take care of yourself in these times and make sure to seek the care of a medical professional. You will thank yourself later when your health is improving and you are looking forward to a full recovery. Whether this means an urgent care visit from afar or a chiropractor visit scheduled for as soon as you return home, be sure to care for yourself after the accident.
Out of Town Accidents
If you have been traveling out of state for the holidays and had an accident in any of the following states, Thompson Law is an ideal resource for you. We can assist you with a network of medical providers and resources here at home and have licensure to practice law and take your case as far as necessary, including going to trial in the following states. If you have experienced an accident elsewhere, still feel free to reach out for assistance about where to go next. Your call and consultation are free, and we are here to help.
Thompson Law is Here for You at the Holidays After an Accident
Even with the best-laid plans, careful planning, and defensive driving, accidents still happen through the negligence and error of others. If you have been hurt in such a car accident, you do not need to suffer the process of recovery and fighting insurance companies or at-fault parties alone. Especially at the holidays, suffering an injury or losing a loved one can be especially difficult. Let Thompson Law help you and take care of you in such a difficult time. Our compassionate team is here to help you. The legal experts at Thompson Law have the breadth of experience and passion to fight for what you deserve.
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