Memorial Day weekend is one of the most popular weekends to drive out of town. Kids are out or almost out of school, and it’s the kick-off for summer. But above all else, you don’t want to be one of the many Memorial Day accidents. Yahoo put together a top 10 list for the most dangerous driving days, and Memorial Day weekend tops the list. Sadly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that about 400 people a year die during a typical Memorial Day weekend, with 44% of those alcohol-related.
Avoid Memorial Day accidents
Knowing the grim statistics hopefully will make you be extra vigilant about the other drivers on the road. Drunk drivers aren’t the only cause of accidents. There’s also distracted driving and plain old car failure. The following is a list recommended by AAA for things you can do to maintain your car and avert a car emergency:
- Consider having your car checked by an automotive technician before a long trip. An ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.
- Check the tires regularly for uneven or excessive tread wear. Make sure all tires, including the spare, are inflated properly. Do at least one check BEFORE hitting the road, as tires hot from driving give inaccurate inflation readings.
- Check the coolant level and condition, making certain the proper 50/50 mixture of water and coolant is present.
- Check the level and condition of the engine oil. If driving under extreme conditions – such as very hot summer weather or pulling a heavy trailer – you may want to consider switching to an oil with higher viscosity. Check your owner’s manual for specific recommendations.
- Look for worn, cracked, blistered or soft belts or hoses. Always perform this check with the engine off.
- Hot weather can shorten the life of a car’s battery – if there’s concern, have it tested by a qualified automotive technician
What to do in case of Memorial Day accidents
If, despite your best planning and attention to the road, you’re in a Memorial Day accident, you or someone in your car will need to be thinking clearly. Your first priority is your safety. After you determine that everyone is ok, collect as much information as you can about the accident. Photos, eyewitnesses, details about the location and road condition, and anything you notice about the other driver may all be helpful. Also pay close attention to what the other driver says. People sometimes admit to causing accidents. You need this information even if you think you’re fine, because injuries may take a few days to show up. When you get home, it’s a good idea to call a car accident attorney and review the details. You’ll learn if it will be a good idea to have the attorney work with you to cover all of the calls with car insurance, health insurance regarding any injuries, and to help you collect reimbursements and a settlement for pain and suffering. Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be complex and stressful. Please call our office if we can help.