Football is a huge deal in the United States, with the actual games being just the tip of the iceberg. Besides attending in-person and viewing the action on TV, fans are drawn to wild atmospheres seen at house parties and parking lot tailgating. Both generally involve plenty of food, alcoholic beverages, and even drugs, not to mention increased foot and automobile traffic. Since fans often need to travel to these locales, this creates a significant hazard that is not always mentioned to the public. Do these events lead to increased car accidents during football season?
Do Statistics Show an Increase in Accidents During Football Season?
There is plenty of data showing how much drunk driving and traffic increases automobile accidents, but less that specifically relates to increased in-season crashes. However, a University of Minnesota study revealed that spectators under age 35 were eight times more likely to have blood alcohol rates over the legal limits and that one out of 12 spectators was intoxicated after leaving major sporting events. The report also claimed that tailgaters are 14 times more likely to be intoxicated after leaving games, and one out of four tailgaters consumed five or more alcoholic beverages per game.
When you look at those figures, it makes sense that accidents would increase in-season. The following data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) drives the point home even further:
- In 2020, drunk driving accidents led to 11,654 fatalities.
- That same year, one out of every four drivers seriously injured or killed in a crash had alcohol in their bloodstream.
- Every 45 minutes in the United States, there is one alcohol-related death.
- Just a small amount of alcohol may affect one’s driving ability.
Other sources estimate that one out of every 12 football game attendees consumes enough alcohol to be over the legal limit. It was also reported that post-game fatal automobile crashes increased by about two percent in San Francisco; at Dallas home games, there were purportedly 72 percent more fatalities from car accidents.
As for football season traffic accidents, Bloomberg points out that the slower speeds when people are entering and leaving stadiums can cause minor accidents; fatal ones are less likely but can occur once intoxicated drivers are traveling faster.
Are There Other Car Problems Related to Football Games?
Out-of-control fans sometimes resort to vandalism and other crimes, such as flipping over cars, assault, theft, and starting fires. There have been riots in large cities like Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as incidences of motor vehicle theft. It is also not hard to picture a drunk fan getting into a vehicle, swerving through the stadium parking lot, and then hitting another vehicle or attendee.
College games can be particularly hazardous, since youth and recklessness often go hand-in-hand. It has been reported that about 139 police incidents occur on college and university game days, and most of these are disorderly violations or alcohol-related offenses. Like many adults, students and their guests sometimes participate in binge drinking at school games, which can be deadly. The school with the highest number of game-day violations was the University of Alabama, followed by North Carolina State, and it is a given that motor vehicles were involved in many of these incidents.
How Can I Avoid Car Accidents during Football Season?
Attending football games is rewarding and fun, and planning ahead can protect you and your vehicle from a worst-case scenario. Decide beforehand when you will be arriving at and leaving the game, and adjust the timing to avoid the most crowds. Public transportation can be safer, less expensive, and faster, but watch out for intoxicated fans on those buses and trains. A ride share service is another option, and you will not have to worry about getting arrested for a DUI.
Be extra careful when driving to and from football events, and if any other drivers seem aggressive, erratic, or zoned out, stay as far away as possible. It is also a good idea to be aware of when and where football games and viewings take place. If your driving plans will be taking you near one of the stadiums, schools, or local bars known to host football game gatherings, plan another route.
It is best to limit alcohol intake, as it increases the chances for an unpleasant event with long-lasting repercussions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as five drinks for men/four for women on one occasion, and driving in this condition is a recipe for disaster. Besides that, intoxicated fans often pick fights with one another, whether they are on their feet or behind the wheel.
What Should I Do if I Have a Car Accident during Football Season?
The first thing to do in this situation is to ensure that everyone is safe, followed by a call for emergency services if there is a personal injury, fatality, or significant property damage. Since many injuries seem minor at first but are actually serious, people often call 911 just in case. Law enforcement officers can also provide you with an accident report, which will be helpful with making a claim.
If you feel it is safe to do so, exchange your contact information with the other driver, being sure to take photos of their license plate, driver’s license, and insurance card. Taking pictures of the scene can also help, so look for skid marks, broken traffic signs, and other kinds of helpful evidence. Write down as many details of the accident as you can remember, and call your insurance provider to fill them in.
Do not provide extensive details about the accident or offer any opinions, and file a claim in a timely manner. If you have problems with that or the other driver exhibited negligence that caused the crash, it might be best to reach out to a trusted car accident lawyer.
College Park Car Wreck Lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Helps Clients Injured During Football Season and the Rest of the Year
Football season can be a blast, but when people lose control, it can lead to disaster that causes injuries, fatalities, and property damage. For assistance on any type of motor vehicle incident, contact a trusted College Park car wreck lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Our experienced team can help protect your rights and get the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in 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.