Thanksgiving Car Accidents – Troubling Statistics and Ideas For Avoiding Them

Thanksgiving Car Accidents

Thanksgiving above all other holidays during the year prompts Americans to travel.  The American Automobile Association, or AAA, tracks travel data.  AAA estimates that nearly 50 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving this year.  Nearly 90 percent of these travelers will be driving or riding in a vehicle.  More than 3 million people will be driving or riding somewhere for Thanksgiving in Southern California alone.  There are several reasons for people deciding to hit the road for Thanksgiving.  This is a four-day weekend that provides an opportunity to relax with family and friends.  Unfortunately, this type of traffic volume also leads to a high number of Thanksgiving car accidents.  Below you’ll find some statistics relating to these crashes as well as some suggestions for avoiding them.

Thanksgiving Car Accidents – Statistical Estimates

AAA is not the only organization that releases estimates relating to Thanksgiving travel.  The National Safety Council, or NSC, also puts out estimates regarding Thanksgiving car accidents on an annual basis.  They do so because these crashes are so prevalent.  The San Diego car accident lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys would also like to raise the awareness levels regarding dangers on the road during the Thanksgiving weekend.  As such, we’re going to share those estimates below.

The NSC measures Thanksgiving weekend in terms of time as a holiday that lasts for 4.25 days.  It begins at 6 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving and extends until 11:59 p.m. on the Sunday following the actual holiday.  The NSC then uses three variables to complete its Thanksgiving car accidents estimate:

  1. Analysts use historical data to determine the percentage of traffic fatalities that occur over a holiday when compared to the rest of that calendar month.
  2. The NSC then projects the total traffic fatalities for that month based on a time series forecasting model.
  3. The estimate is derived from multiplying the total for the month by the percentage.

Those interested in reading the entire breakdown can find it here.  In general, these estimates have proven to be quite accurate in the past.  The NSC places its confidence level with regards to these estimates at 90 percent.  Based on all of these factors, the NSC estimates that 437 people will die in Thanksgiving car accidents over the holiday weekend.  In addition, 50,300 people will suffer nonfatal injuries.  This estimate is higher than it was last year.  That makes sense, as AAA has also estimated that 2016 will be the biggest travel year over Thanksgiving since 2007.

Suggestions For Avoiding Thanksgiving Car Accidents

There is a lot to remember for people who will be traveling over Thanksgiving weekend.  People who will be driving should consider taking a bit of time to consider some suggestions for avoiding Thanksgiving car accidents.  These few minutes of planning could make the difference between getting into a crash and arriving at a destination safely and without incident.  A few of these suggestions include:

  • Allow yourself time – The last thing you need to do to yourself and to anyone who will be riding in a vehicle with you is to push yourself for time.  Leave early.  It will eliminate any thoughts of having to move quickly to keep with your schedule.
  • Check the weather – While this is a rare necessity in Southern California, the early part of this week should have reminded all of us that when it does rain here, it creates chaos on the freeways.  Make sure you won’t have to worry about that during your drive.
  • Eliminate distractions – One of the most dangerous aspects of road travel is distractions.  If you are used to having your cell phone next to you when you drive, put it away somewhere so it’s out of reach.  If you want to change the programming on your radio, ask a passenger to do that for you.
  • Know your route – If you are traveling somewhere that’s relatively unfamiliar, take some time to learn the basics of your route before you leave.  You don’t need to be fidgeting with your navigation system while you’re on the road.  You should also have an alternate route in mind if possible.
  • Name a navigator – In furtherance of that idea, it may be advisable to name a navigator before you leave.  This person can help you manage your progress and give you some idea as to how you should proceed based on traffic, road or weather conditions.
  • Entertainment for the kids – If you’re traveling with children and you’ve done so before, you likely understand that they need to be managed to an extent on long drives.  Make sure they have enough to keep them entertained so that they do not become a distraction.
  • Car maintenance – If your vehicle is due for an oil change or a tune-up soon, go ahead and get that done before you travel.  You should also consider replacing your tires if they are worn and will need to be replaced soon anyway.
  • Relax – Perhaps above all else, make sure you put yourself in the proper mental state before you get behind the wheel.  Driving while agitated in any way only increases the chance that you’ll make a poor decision, and poor decisions can lead to crashes.  Remain calm and remind yourself that you’re not in a rush.

How San Diego Car Accident Lawyers Can Help

Thanksgiving weekend should be a time of joy, reflection and relaxation.  It’s an opportunity to take a step back from the daily grind and remember the things for which we are all thankful.  It is also a time for caution for all of those people who will be traveling.  Despite all the precautions people will be taking in an effort to drive safely, the fact of the matter is that some people will still be involved in Thanksgiving car accidents.  If this includes you or someone you love, take steps to protect your legal rights.  Contact a San Diego car accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free initial consultation.

Posted in: Motor Vehicle Accidents
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