Millions of Americans will pack up their cars this weekend and through the New Year to travel to loved ones' homes to celebrate the holidays. This cheerful, joyous time is palpable, but there are many dangers on the road that you need to be aware of before you load your trunk with presents and buckle in your children.
Approximately one-third of Americans travel over the holidays. That increase in traffic, coupled with winter weather, means there's a higher likelihood of being in an auto accident. Christmas is considered the seventh most deadly day of the year for car crashes, and New Year's Eve is the sixth. In 2016, there were a shocking 95 percent more car accidents and a 54 percent rise in fatalities on New Year’s Day. With around 4.4 percent more people traveling every year, these numbers continue to grow.
There are many ways you can prepare for and avoid auto accidents while traveling over the holidays, including:
1. Plan Ahead
It's easy to leave safety behind when you're in a rush. Leave yourself and your family plenty of time to get on the road, so you're not in a hurry to reach your destination. If you do happen to run late, let your family and friends know before you leave or when you're getting gas, so they're aware, and you're not speeding to make up time. Check the weather forecast to be sure you're headed into safe weather conditions.
2. Travel Smart
Whether you're driving one hour or ten, make sure you begin your journey well-rested and alert. Avoid traveling during heavy traffic hours, and pay close attention to the road and other drivers. When one in four car accidents involve texting and driving, defensive driving tactics are essential. Wear your seatbelt and doublecheck that all passengers are wearing theirs as well.
3. Be Mindful of Your Distractions
Texting and driving is a deadly habit, but any distraction can be dangerous. That includes changing the radio stations or playlist, helping a child in the backseat locate a dropped toy, and eating while you drive. To avoid these distractions, leave your phone in the glove box or somewhere out of reach, so you're not tempted to look at it, and if a child or passenger needs something, pull over before you help.
4. Don't Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
"Don't Drink and Drive" is a message blasted from every radio station and plastered on countless billboards. Still, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that around 11,000 people were killed by drunk drivers in 2017. Get a cab, Uber, Lyft, or establish a designated driver, so you make it home safely.
5. Be Prepared for an Emergency
There are many ways to be prepared for an emergency, such as a car accident—from having a first aid kit, water bottles, and snacks to a specific location for important documents, including your proof of insurance and registration. You and your family members need to know what to do in the event of a car crash, which involves staying at the scene, exchanging contact and insurance information, taking photographs, and not admitting fault.
Contact the Auto Accident Lawyers at Maurer Law Firm in Fishkill
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact our experienced attorneys at the Maurer Law Firm in Fishkill, New York today at (845) 896-5295. We serve clients in surrounding New York areas, including Hudson Valley, Lagrangeville, Myers Corner, and Beacon.
Ira M. Maurer and our entire team at the Maurer Law Firm wish you a happy and safe holiday and joy in the New Year.