Tips for Avoiding a Traffic Collision During the Holiday Travel Season Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the busiest holiday travel seasons in the United States. While many travelers’ plans include air travel, a large number of Americans will be packing up their cars and trucks and heading out on roadways to holiday gatherings. Whether your trip is only a couple hours away or you must cross several states to reach your destination, preparation is the key to ensuring you arrive safely. An automobile accident can happen anytime you get behind the wheel of your vehicle. According to the American Safety Council, auto crashes spike at the end of the year during the holiday season. The most dangerous time to operate your vehicle is between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
Pennsylvania Holiday Accident Statistics
With more vehicles on the road during the holiday season, you are more likely to be involved in a serious auto crash simply by getting in your vehicle. According to statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, during the 2020 holiday travel season, there were 6212 crashes with 49 fatalities. As we head into the holiday travel season, the following factors are linked to an increase in holiday traffic accidents:
- Other Travelers: During busy holiday travel periods, there will be an increased number of out-of-town drivers on local roads. Additional out-of-town drivers add traffic congestion and wait times to your travel plans. So, drivers can protect themselves by leaving for their destination early and practicing defensive driving tactics while driving on busy roads.
- Unfavorable Weather Conditions: When roadway conditions are poor, you can expect long travel times and collisions. Nearly 25% of all traffic incidents in the United States are caused by adverse weather. While snowy and icy roadways can be treacherous, Federal Highway Administration reports show rainy roads are the most dangerous. When roads are slick, tire traction is reduced, and traveling at high speeds can lead to collisions.
- Disregard for Driving Rules: Many drivers are frustrated by the long waits and busy roadways commonly experienced during the holidays. Impatient drivers are more likely to hurry down the road to their holiday event ignoring many important driving safety rules. Speeding is a common form of reckless driving and can lead to severe injuries. Additionally, long road trips can be exhausting, meaning some drivers may be tired – impacting reaction time and alertness.
Avoiding holiday traffic collisions can be challenging with so many drivers on the road but remaining engaged is key. Pay attention to other vehicles while driving and get plenty of rest before starting your trip.
How You Can Prepare for Your Holiday Roadtrip
As we’ve mentioned, there are many contributing factors to the increase seen in holiday car crashes year after year. You can help keep yourself and those in your vehicle safe by ensuring your vehicle is roadworthy before beginning your trip. Before getting behind the wheel this winter holiday season, review the following checklist for tips to ensure your vehicle is safe:
- Schedule vehicle maintenance, including tires, brakes, batteries, and fluids
- Clean all windows and mirrors, and check the windshield wiper fluid
- Check your lights, including high and low beams, and your brake lights
- Check your vehicle emergency kit. If you don’t have a kit, you can make a quick one by adding jumper cables, flares, bottled water, and blankets
- Plan your journey as much as possible. If you can plan where you will stop for meals and refueling stops, you can better estimate your arrival time and gauge traffic conditions.
If you end up in an automobile accident this holiday season, the attorneys at Metzger Wickersham can help you protect your legal interests. Schedule a consultation, and we can discuss the details of your traffic collision. We may be able to help you fight for compensation for your recovery.
When you're ready to speak to an attorney to discuss your case, schedule a free consultation with our legal team by sending us a message or calling (888) 286-2850.