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Car Accident Fatality Rate Highest during Winter Holiday Months

Posted on in Car Accidents

Illinois injury attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer, Illinois personal injury lawyer,Car accidents are all too common throughout the year, but fatality rates spike during the winter months from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. More cars than ever are on the road with families driving out of town to visit friends and family for the holidays, and often during the worst weather of the year. Holiday parties also often involve alcohol, and many drivers fail to take precautions to avoid buzzed or drunk driving.

Holiday Season Car Accident Injury and Fatality Rates

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that monthly fatality rates peak in the last quarter of the year, and the two of the four deadliest days on the road include December 23 and December 24. The number of motor vehicle fatalities are typically higher in the six holiday periods of the year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The National Center for Statistics & Analysis (NCSA) conducted a study examining crash fatalities during the six holiday periods of the year and found that in 2002, 543 people were killed in car accidents during the four-day Thanksgiving holiday, and 130 people were killed on Christmas Day. One hundred and forty-three people were killed on New Year’s Day in 2002, and a total of 570 fatalities occurred during the four-day New Year’s holiday period that year. In 2012, those numbers rose to 746 fatal Thanksgiving crashes, 654 fatal Christmas crashes, and nearly 50,000 non-fatal accidents.

The Thanksgiving and Christmas season is the most traveled holiday period of the year, and DUI rates are highest between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, making the chances of being involved in a crash even likelier. During the Christmas and New Year period, the average number of fatalities involving an alcohol-impaired driver spikes by 34 percent from the average yearly rate.

Holiday Driving Safety Tips

Make sure to consider these driving tips if you are traveling for the holidays this year:

  • If traveling to a distant destination, consider using alternate transportation rather than driving. Flying or even taking a bus may reduce the amount of time you need to spend behind the wheel, and thus reduce your risk of being involved in an auto accident.
  • If you must drive, never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even one drink can affect your ability to quickly react to dangerous situations, so have a backup plan such as a taxi, a rideshare, or a designated driver if you plan to attend events where you might imbibe. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimates that 40 percent of traffic deaths during the holiday season involve drunk drivers.
  • Avoid driving while overly tired. Drowsy driving is exceedingly common but just as dangerous as driving drunk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that at least 100,000 crashes per year and over 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries are the result of drowsy driving. Have a backup plan for transportation if you find yourself too tired to drive.
  • Always wear your seatbelt, and ensure that all passengers in your vehicle do the same. The NHTSA estimates that nearly 60 percent of passengers killed in holiday-season crashes were not wearing safety belts.
  • Always drive the speed limit and stay alert to any inclement weather dangers on the road. Reduce speed if conditions are snowy or icy, and leave ample time to arrive at your destination so that you do not feel rushed and tempted to drive faster than necessary. If possible, try to plan your route and time around traffic, road, and weather conditions. Driving during daylight and when conditions are clear will reduce your chances of being involved in an accident.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in proper condition for driving in winter weather. Make sure your tires are inflated and have the appropriate tread, that your windshield wipers are working properly, and that any antifreeze or defrosting mechanisms are functioning to avoid limited visibility from fog or outside precipitation.

What to Do If You or a Family Member Has Been Involved in an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, consult an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to help you understand your rights. The experienced Lake County car accident attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. can provide the representation you need and we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.

Sources:

https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/809855

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2014/11/26/the-u-s-death-rate-spikes-on-thanksgiving-heres-why/#5d64a1ed36db

http://drowsydriving.org/about/facts-and-stats/

https://consumer.healthday.com/general-health-information-16/alcohol-abuse-news-12/drunk-driving-related-deaths-surge-during-the-holidays-659560.html

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