The holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years are some of the best times individuals and families can have. It often involves lots of traveling, good food, fellowship, and parties. But this season also sees a rise in motor vehicle accidents, well above any other time of the year.
Why Are These Holidays So Dangerous?
These are exciting days filled with food, gifts and heavy socializing, and they can be exhausting as well. Alcohol plays a major role in holiday driving fatalities. Below is a list of the other main causes of auto wrecks and deaths during the holidays:
- Distracted Driving: The reason that seems to be jutting ahead of all other explanations is distracted driving. Besides conversations, arguments and blaring music, the chief culprits are cell phones, texting, and GPS devices. According to the CDC, 52% of U.S. drivers ages 18-29 reported texting or emailing while driving at least once in the last 30 days, and more than 25% reported texting or emailing “regularly” or “fairly often” while driving.
- Hurry: Hurry is huge especially if we have many places to visit and lots of things to do. The mind gets preoccupied with so many things to accomplish as we prepare to meet a host of people. We hurry because we don’t want to be late so we may drive too fast and lose a little caution along the way.
- Road Conditions: Road conditions are worse during the holiday season as colder temperatures can help cause roads to be slick with ice and break up more easily. A lot of holiday driving is done at night making visibility more difficult.
- Exhaustion: This is the busiest season of the year. We have shopped until we dropped, over-consumed food and beverage, and been to many parties and family gatherings. We are tired. This 5-week period can lead to less focus when driving.
Remember These Numbers
There were 32,000 deaths in the U.S. involving motor vehicles in 2010. 810 of these occurred in South Carolina, which is about 2.5% of all fatalities in the 50 states and D.C., just slightly above the national average.
But here’s where South Carolinians really need to pay attention: Nationally in 2010, there averaged 82 traffic fatalities daily. However, on the three days of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s combined, there was an average of 460 deaths per day. That is an increase of 500% per day.
Elrod Pope Law Firm wants you and your family to enjoy the holidays this and every year. So, here are the basics to help you stay safe on the road:
- Buckle up
- Child safety seats secured
- Drive sober
- Get rest
- Know where you are going
- Have your vehicle tuned up
- Charge your cell battery for the trip
- Pay attention to signs
- Drive defensively
- Don’t use your cell while driving
- Absolutely no texting
Following are National statistics on the major holidays:
- Thanksgiving Day
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 567
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 41%
- Christmas Day
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 414
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 42%
- New Year’s Day
Average Number of Fatalities Per Year Since 1982: 401
Average Percentage of Alcohol-Related Fatalities Since 1982: 46%
Again, these three days average 460 traffic fatalities per day, which includes motorcyclists, pedestrians, vehicle occupants and pedacyclists.
The holidays are an occasion to celebrate and spend time with the ones you love. As families and loved ones gather to revel in this time, Elrod Pope Law Firm wishes everyone a very safe and happy holiday season.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.