Safe Holiday Driving During Thanksgiving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hundreds of people will lose their lives in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday. In fact, more than 500 Americans were killed on the roadways from November 22 to November 27, 2017. Thousands more will experience an auto accident leading to injuries if they don’t practice safe holiday driving.
Thanksgiving has long been known as one of the most dangerous holidays for car accidents in the United States. There are many risk factors that can lead to collisions, including:
- Inclement weather conditions: As winter approaches, holiday-goers may experience rain, hail, high winds, or even snow in some areas of California. Poor weather can decrease a driver’s visibility while reducing their vehicle’s traction on roads that are already full of motorists, making a collision more likely.
- More drivers: As holiday travelers make their way to their various celebrations, motorists will see an increased number of drivers on the road. This means heavier traffic and slower speeds on the highways. Additional drivers increase the risks for car accidents. This is especially true in construction zones when more drivers are forced to jam together to fit on the roadways.
- Drunk driving: Holiday festivities often involve alcoholic beverages. Those who imbibe may believe that they’re fine to drive and get behind the wheel only to cause an accident due to their impaired judgement. In 2017, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported that 35% of accident fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday involved a drunk driver.
- Exhausted drivers: Many individuals and families spend the Thanksgiving holiday participating in a host of activities, from cooking and eating large meals to watching sports and playing games. This leads to many people returning home exhausted from the festivities. Drowsy drivers may fall asleep behind the wheel or not be alert enough to identify hazards on the road. Practicing safe driving like taking a bread when tired, is nessecary to avoid unnecessary accidents.
Tips for Safe Holiday Driving This Thanksgiving
Here are some ways you can reduce your risk of becoming involved in an auto accident this Thanksgiving holiday season.
Increase Your Following Distance
With jam-packed highways this holiday, it’s essential to put enough space between you and the car in front of you. A safe following distance is three seconds, but you may need more if the driver ahead is behaving erratically. Use your best judgment to avoid a collision. Keeping at least three seconds between your car and others will give you the time you need to react should drivers make last-minute maneuvers.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Distractions can be deadly on the road. You must pay attention to your driving, road and traffic conditions, and the behavior of the drivers around you. Texts, phone calls, or other vehicle occupants can take your attention from where it’s needed and put you at risk of an accident. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that over 2,800 Americans were killed in car accidents caused by distracted driving in 2018.
These tips can help you avoid distracted driving:
- Use hands-free devices to talk or text.
- Change radio stations and climate controls before you drive.
- Tell passengers not to distract you by excessive talking.
- Avoid staring at accidents or other roadway conditions that could distract you.
- Don’t eat and drink or apply makeup while you’re driving.
Follow the Speed Limit
In 2017, the NHSTA reported that 26% of all traffic fatalities involved speeding. Going over the posted speed limit greatly increases your chance of becoming involved in a car crash. After all, the faster you’re going, the more time you’ll need to stop in an emergency. If you’re too close to another vehicle, you’re more likely to hit them if you’re speeding. Vehicles are also harder to control at high speeds, so related accidents often lead to more serious injuries like:
- Broken bones
- Head trauma
- Spinal injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Loss of limb
For your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s best to avoid speeding at all costs. If you see a particularly reckless driver, give them plenty of space on the road. If you’re in the left lane, move over and allow the speeding driver to pass you by.
What to Do in An Accident
The Thanksgiving holiday puts more drivers at risk on the highways. And sometimes accidents are unavoidable, even for the safest drivers. If you’ve been hit by another driver, take the following steps to protect yourself.
- First, check yourself for injuries. If you’re able to walk, then check on the other driver. When you call 911 to report the accident, be sure to indicate whether you or the other driver has an emergency medical need.
- Next, file an accident report. This can be done with the police officer who comes to the scene. Without admitting fault, give the officer the details of the crash. This report should also have each driver’s contact and insurance information.
- Take photos. Use your smartphone to take photographs or videos of the scene as well as any injuries or automobile damage you may have incurred.
- Get medical attention. Even if you don’t require medical assistance at the scene of the crash, you should still follow up with your physician to rule out any hidden injuries.
- Contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you deal with the other driver’s insurance company so that you don’t say something that could hurt your case. Your lawyer will review the circumstances of the case and let you know if you should file a claim against the responsible party. If so, they will work with you throughout the process to help you recover as much compensation as you’re entitled to by law.
Offering Legal Assistance in Bakersfield
If you are injured this Thanksgiving and find yourself in need of an auto accident lawyer in Bakersfield, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones. Our firm has years of experience helping accident victims pursue the compensation they deserve for their injuries. We’ll work hard to achieve a positive outcome for your case. Contact our office today to set up a meeting with a Bakersfield car accident attorney.