The holidays are among the busiest times of the year on the roads. Many people take to the highways as they travel to visit their friends and families. With so much traffic on the roads, it is not surprising that Christmas and New Years are two of the most deadly days on our nation’s highways.
Driving Hazards on Christmas
If you plan to drive on Christmas, be aware of the potential hazards. The roads can be busy with people traveling both across town and across country. There are plenty of families on the highways, and people may be under stress and in a rush to get where they need to go. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, IIHS HLDI, accident insurance claims increase by about 20% in the month of December. An increase in accidents may be linked, in part, to more aggressive driving and cases of road rage.
Driving on New Year’s Day
Certainly, drinking and driving leads to a high incidence of accidents. Even with the information provided to the public and more stringent penalties, people still drive drunk. This can be especially true on New Year’s Day. Statistics show that most accidents occur after midnight, so they technically happen on New Year’s Day. This day ranks on top for alcohol-related accident fatalities.
There are some things that drivers can do to reduce the risk of holiday traffic accidents. Defensive driving is essential in preventing accidents. Be aware of other drivers on the road, since they may be more dangerous at this time of year. Do not allow yourself to be distracted since this can easily happen when driving with passengers.
Know your route before you start, and do not head out unless you are well-rested. Allow yourself plenty to time to arrive at your destination so you do not have to rush. If you encounter a vehicle that is driving erratically, move away from it and notify police. Let them know the location of the vehicle, along with its make, model, and tag if you can see it. Do not try to follow the car, or put yourself in danger.
Accidents on the Holidays
No matter how careful you are, an accident can still occur. A serious crash will put a damper on the holiday festivities. If severe injuries happened, you may be dealing with medical treatments and expensive care. If the accident was caused primarily by another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Seek immediate medical care, and be sure to keep all your medical records, bills, and notes. Contact an attorney before speaking with the insurance company. Your lawyer will help to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the money you deserve.
(image courtesy of Waldo Jaquith)