Driving on the Holidays
The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration, but traffic accidents do not take days off. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a government agency that is part of the Department of Transportation, released a 2012 report estimating the number of traffic accidents and related deaths that occurred on major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. The highways’ deadliest holiday in 2012 was Thanksgiving, with an estimated 764 fatal crashes nationwide and nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents as well. Christmas was the third most deadly, with 654 crashes, followed by 618 wrecks related to the January holiday of Martin Luther King’s birthday. Only the second most deadly holiday (Labor Day, with 694 crashes involving fatalities) did not occur within the winter months.
What Is the Biggest Change I Can Make?
While bad weather is certainly a factor in causing traffic accidents around the winter holidays, drunk or impaired driving is also a major contributor. According to the CDC, 31 percent of the fatal crashes during 2012 involved drunk drivers. While not driving after you have been drinking can go a long way toward helping you avoid an accident, the most important safety measure you can take to protect yourself in a crash is to buckle up. With 45 to 60 percent effectiveness, seat belts have saved nearly 300,000 American lives since 1975. When lap and shoulder belts are used correctly, they reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers by 45 percent and the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent.
How Else Can I Protect Myself?
It's never a bad time to start making better choices while on the road. Some useful safety resolutions for the new year include:
- Check your route ahead of time and leave early if necessary so you aren’t tempted to speed.
- Give the road your full attention – stay off your cell phone.
- Try not to react to the actions of other drivers. Road rage helps no one.
- Be certain your tires are correctly inflated and your windshield wipers are working properly. This precautionary safety check can save you a lot of trouble later.
- Keep your speed appropriate for the conditions. Don't let the driver behind you pressure you into making an unsafe choice and don't tailgate another driver.
- Stop and rest if you are tired. Many crashes are sleep-related.
Of course, an accident can happen to anyone. Since 1970, the Miami car accident attorneys at Stabinski and Funt, P.A. have been helping Florida residents involved in traffic collisions. If you have been hurt in a car crash, you may be able to recover financial compensation. To learn more about how our high-quality representation can benefit you, we encourage you to give our Miami and Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys a call at your convenience at 305-643-3100 or you may fill out a free case evaluation form.DISCLAIMER : The information about past verdicts and settlements is based on the unique facts of each case. Every case is different, and future cases may not achieve the same or similar results. These amounts reflect the gross recovery (before attorneys’ fees and expenses are deducted).