How Should I Prepare for Safety on the Road This Thanksgiving?
Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans take to the roads to enjoy the holiday with loved ones. Unfortunately, that also means that thousands of people are injured or killed in car accidents during the holiday period, defined as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Considering that Black Friday also falls in this period, the chances for being involved in a car accident increase. Thanksgiving car wrecks happen for a variety of reasons:
Drowsy driving: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving caused 795 deaths in 2017. Drowsy driving most often occurs when drivers are alone in the car, driving on rural roads and single-lane highways, and during late night, overnight, and late afternoon hours. Add in full stomachs and lack of sleep from the holiday, drowsy driving is a major cause of Thanksgiving car accidents.
Distracted driving: The NHTSA reports that in 2018, distracted driving fatally injured 2,841 people, including 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists. Thanksgiving holiday drivers may have additional people in the car, along with other common distracted driving behaviors:
- Talking or texting on the phone
- Using a navigation system
- Opening the glove box or retrieving items in the car
- Changing the music or fiddling with temperature controls
- Eating or drinking
- Getting lost in thought or conversation
Drunk driving: Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, but it can also lead to over-celebrating with alcohol. Drivers who drink more than the legal limit increase the potential for car accidents. According to NHTSA, from 2013 to 2017, more than 800 people died in alcohol-related crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period, making it one of the deadliest holidays on U.S. roadways.
Speeding: Thanksgiving drivers may be in a hurry going to and from their destinations. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), speeding was a factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2018, killing approximately 25 people per day.
Tips for Safe Driving
The following safety tips can help reduce the chances of being in a Thanksgiving car accident:
- Get enough sleep. Holidays often throw people off their sleep schedules, so get ample sleep before the drive to and from the holiday destination.
- Do not drive after overeating or overdrinking. Avoid drowsy and drunk driving by not driving after a heavy meal or after drinking alcohol.
- Drive during the day and with other people, if possible. Driving alone or at night can increase the chances of being in an accident.
- Ensure the car is road ready. Check lights, tire pressure, oil, and gas before starting on a holiday trip.
- Check the weather. It is never good to drive in extreme weather, such as excessive rain and snow.
- Use your headlights, windshield wipers, and blinkers as needed. Although it may sound obvious, drivers who fail to follow driving basics may increase their risk of an accident.
- Drive defensively. Do not depend on other drivers to follow the rules of driving. Be aware of others on the road, the road conditions, and the surroundings at all times.
Those involved in a car accident during the Thanksgiving holiday should seek medical attention as soon as possible. They may be eligible to recover damages above what the insurance company is willing to offer them by filing a personal injury claim. Laws on this vary by state, so it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Advocate for Victims of Car Accidents
If you were involved in a car accident during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King will fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Our offices are located in Washington, DC, where we proudly serve clients throughout 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.