Why Car Accidents Increase During the Holidays

car accidents during holidays

During the busy holiday season, there is a significant increase in traffic on roads and highways across the U.S. With more people on the road traveling to visit family and friends, shopping for gifts, or attending holiday gatherings, the number of accidents also increases.

In 2019 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration predicts 799 fatal accidents will occur during the span of time between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Because more people are driving during the holiday season, and usually for longer periods of time than usual, more accidents occur. Mix those two factors with alcohol consumption and you have a deadly concoction for holiday drivers.

The Most Dangerous Times To Be On the Road This Holiday Season

According to a study by the University of Alabama Center for Advanced Public Safety, the days just before Christmas are the most dangerous times to operate a vehicle. The study analyzed data during six-day periods surrounding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and found that while the days before and after Thanksgiving and New Year’s are dangerous driving times, the days just before Christmas are the most perilous.

Since Christmas is a prime time for shopping, there are more people on the road picking up last-minute gifts, which leads to a higher probability of getting into an accident. According to the study, traveling on the actual holiday is safer than traveling on the days before and after because there is significantly less traffic.

While New Year’s Eve was once considered one of the most dangerous times of the year for drunk driving fatalities, the days surrounding Christmas and Thanksgiving are now more hazardous. Some of the reasons why fatal accidents have decreased around New Year’s Eve are due to public safety initiatives to decrease impaired driving. More police patrol the streets, more people designate sober drivers, and there are more publicity and media attention dedicated to safe driving on New Years’ Eve. These efforts have been effective in cutting down the number of fatal crashes on that evening only.

Other Factors That Contribute To Car Accidents During the Holiday Season

The holiday season can be a stressful time. Not only are people scrambling to buy groceries, presents, and decorations, but they’re also preparing to see family members and friends, meaning stress levels and the chances of distraction are high.

Also, many drivers who are traveling for the holidays are driving for longer distances than they are used to and are navigating unfamiliar roads. Fatigued driving, unfamiliar destinations, and driver distraction can all lead to severe or fatal injury crashes.

Another factor to consider is vehicle maintenance during the holiday. Before embarking on a road trip, it is crucial to inspect your vehicle for any maintenance issues, specifically making sure that your brakes, headlights, and tires are all in good shape for your trip.

Finally, depending on your destination, traveling during the holiday season often means driving in inclement weather conditions. Drivers should be prepared for snow, ice, rain, and other conditions that can impact the way you operate your vehicle. Everyone driving this holiday season is encouraged to slow down, pay attention to the weather and road conditions, and exercise caution at all times.

Injured In A Car Accident Over The Holidays?

No one anticipates being injured in a car accident during the holidays, but the unfortunate truth is that accidents happen every day. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the negligence of another driver or other party, you don’t have to endure the pain alone, nor should you have to pay out of pocket for their carelessness.

You have the right to seek compensation and justice, and the experienced Jacksonville car accident attorneys of Harrell & Harrell, P.A., will be ready to help you get it. We’ve earned a reputation as compassionate and aggressive litigators who know how to deliver results for our clients. Call us at (800) 251-1111 to find out why so many people in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas have trusted us to handle their cases.