As the weather gets colder, the conditions on the road change and the holidays bring a significant influx of drivers to areas unaccustomed to severe traffic congestion. On top of that, the holidays can bring out the worst in people. Short tempers, time constraints, limited-time holiday sales, and distractions can make roads hostile and cause high numbers of car accidents. Although the numbers change from year to year, during the three-day Christmas period, an average of 343 people die in car accidents annually, and closer to 400 road deaths occur in the three-day period around the New Year’s holiday.
At Scaffidi & Associates, we provide legal services to car accident and personal injury victims in the New York City region, and we are committed to the safety of our clients, especially during the holiday season. Below, we will outline the most common causes of traffic accidents that occur during this time of the year, along with the ways to avoid becoming another holiday traffic statistic.
The leading cause of car accidents in the country, regardless of season or holiday, is impaired driving. Impairments on the road are caused by many things, including alcohol, drugs, drowsiness, and distractions. Alcohol and drug consumption cause a fair amount of car crashes each year, but these accidents become more prevalent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Additionally, sleepy drivers are a big problem, especially when drivers travel long distances for long hours to visit friends and loved ones across the U.S. Finally, distractions like cell phone use and “rubbernecking” can rack up those incident percentages.
Traffic Congestion & Road Rage
The holidays are perfect opportunities to spend time with the people closest to you, and everybody seems to have read the same memo. The roads become even more congested, even at off-hours, making people late for work, appointments, and parties. Impatient and angry drivers tend to make mistakes, including tailgating, spontaneous lane-switching, running red lights and stop signs, and road rage, among many others. Motorists should steer clear from those drivers and be cognizant of their own behaviors.
Dangerous Driving Conditions & Wildlife Hazards
Wintertime is historically one of the worst times to be out on the roads. Snow, ice, sleet, and slush making driving conditions hazardous. With visibility low and ice accumulating on untreated asphalt, even the slightest distraction could result in single-car accidents, multi-car collisions, and fender-benders. Similar to a patch of ice or a giant pothole, wildlife, specifically deer, can show up out of nowhere, creating an additional hazard to the holiday driving experience.
When the holidays come around, drivers should drive sensibly and defensively. If the road conditions are unfavorable or your GPS indicates high congestion or inconsistent traffic patterns, it might be safer to wait out the snow squall or determine a better time to hit the road. Similarly, if you are tired from hours of driving on the highway or in or around the city, pulling over to stretch your legs and grab a coffee, or to switch drivers could make all the difference.
What Should I Do If I Get Into a Holiday Car Accident?
Unfortunately, the roads and drivers are not always predictable, and accidents can still happen. Read on for some advice you should follow if you get into a holiday car accident:
If you are ever in a serious car accident during the holiday season, you need proper legal representation to get the compensation you deserve. Contact Scaffidi & Associates today to learn more!