How Can I Avoid an Accident on Memorial Day Weekend?
One of the country’s favorite holidays, Memorial Day weekend is a time to celebrate our nation’s military with friends and family. It is also the unofficial opening to summer when the school year ends, and prompts many people to hit the road for vacation. Unfortunately, with the increase of people travelling means an increase in traffic accidents.
Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous weekends of the year for vacationers and travelers alike. In fact, based on data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Memorial Day weekend sees more fatal car crashes than any other holiday weekend, including Labor Day, New Year’s Eve, and Fourth of July. Those same statistics by the NHTSA found that there are more red lights driven through on Memorial Day weekend, as well as more drunk driving accidents.
Studies by the National Safety Council (NSC) report similar findings. When compared with Thanksgiving or Christmas weekends, the Memorial Day weekend sees a 14 percent increase in traffic-related fatalities. These numbers are close to other summer weekend holidays like Labor Day or Fourth of July. The fact is, more traffic-related deaths are seen during summer holiday weekends when compared to any other holiday or even non-holiday weekend.
With millions and millions of Americans expected to take to the road for the holiday, it is no wonder that the likelihood of an accident is extremely high. Here are some safety tips to help you avoid a car accident and to keep yourself and your family safe for the Memorial Day weekend:
- Plan ahead: If you expect to drive through an unfamiliar area, be sure to plan your route ahead of time, and pay attention to traffic and weather reports if they are available. Plan to leave early enough as to avoid having to rush to get to your destination and do so on off hours when the traffic is not as congested, particularly between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Instead, leave on Thursday or Saturday, avoiding Friday afternoon when the traffic volume and the risk factor is at its highest.
- Pack wisely: Make sure that whatever you are bringing with you is secured properly and not rolling around the cabin, causing a distraction to the driver. Also, keep anything out of the view of the driver and do not block any windows so the driver can see out of them properly. Prepare for the long road trip by packing an emergency kit with a blanket, flashlight, road flares, food and water, as well as a charger for your phone.
- Drive defensively: Practice patience and slow down. Drive defensively at all times; drive the speed limit and obey all traffic laws, and yield to others and try to expect the unexpected. Try to anticipate the actions of other drivers and be aware of your surroundings. Leave enough room between your car and others around you, especially the one you are following, which will give you enough time to react if necessary. If you are driving near large commercial trucks, be extra cautious and know that if you cannot see their mirrors that the driver cannot see you.
- Distraction free: Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the country, and with the amount of Memorial Day travelers that are expected, driving with distractions is especially dangerous. Put the phone away and have someone else in the car to navigate for you. If you are travelling with children, have tablets and headphones ready and make sure they are aware that distracting the driver is dangerous. Always make sure your mirrors, temperature controls, and music are adjusted before you start driving, and only readjust anything until you are at a complete stop. Always keep your eyes on the road.
- Rest up: Many people get so excited about their trip that they lose sleep over it. Always get plenty of rest before going on a long trip. Drowsy driving is another leading cause of car accidents, as the effects of fatigue are very similar to that of drunk driving and can be just as dangerous. Be sure to rest up so you have the energy needed to focus on driving. If it is a longer trip, it is a good idea to get out of the car every few hours and stretch your legs or go for a walk; doing so will get your blood flowing and can help you wake up and stay awake. Perhaps do some sightseeing while you stop. Redirecting your focus on something for a bit can help you stay mentally alert.
- Approach stoplights with caution: Memorial Day weekend sees many people running redlights as people rush to get to their destinations, so be extra attentive when stopped at a red light or driving through intersections. Assume other drivers do not see you or are not driving carefully and only proceed until they have come to a full stop.
- Do not drink and drive: Memorial Day weekend is also infamous for drunk driving-related accidents and fatalities. With people relaxing for summer and going out to celebrate, it is common for alcohol to be involved. Drinking impairs one’s judgement and reduces the ability to react and make good decisions. It is never a good idea to drink and drive. Avoid mixing alcohol with any prescription or over-the-counter drugs as that will likely amplify the effects of alcohol. If you do plan on going out and drinking, plan ahead of time and seek a different way to get home by appointing a designated driver in your group, using public transportation, or using a ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft. If you are hosting a Memorial Day celebration and are serving alcohol, offer rides for your guests or for them to stay the night.
The Washington DC Car Wreck Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Those Injured by Negligence on Memorial Day Weekend
If you have been injured because of a negligent driver, then contact our Washington DC car wreck lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King right away. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With our offices located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we proudly serve all communities of Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.