Holiday weekends, road trips, and festivities are a time for celebration, relaxation, and spending quality moments with family and friends. However, they also come with an increased risk of car accidents due to various factors such as higher traffic volume, impaired driving, and distracted driving. It is essential to prioritize safety and take proactive measures to prevent accidents during these times to ensure they stay fun and don’t turn tragic.
In today’s blog, we’ll explore strategies, tips, and best practices for preventing car accidents during holiday weekends and festivities. By being aware of the risks, planning ahead, adopting responsible driving practices, and promoting safety awareness, we can help ensure a fun and accident-free experience for everyone.
Understanding the risks
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts a surge in drivers on the roads this Memorial Day, with “some 42.3 million Americans expected to hit the road to travel 50 or more miles from home over the long holiday weekend.” The Akron Beacon Journal also notes that many people will be hitting the road to visit Ohio, which means more cars on the road and more traffic congestion here at home, raising the risk of car accidents and:
- Impaired driving – People may be on their way to or back from parties, meaning they may be driving drunk or under the influence of drugs. This can cause impaired judgment, reduced reaction time, and impaired coordination.
- Distracted driving – When driving in unfamiliar regions, people can get distracted by their GPS, phones, or passengers. Texting, phone calls, eating, or attending to children can divert attention from the road and lead to accidents.
- Fatigued driving – Long-distance travel and road trips put drivers at risk for drowsy driving or even falling asleep behind the wheel. It’s important to be well-rested, take breaks, and recognize signs of drowsiness to prevent accidents.
Preparing for safe travel
If you’re planning on any type of road trip this summer, whether for a few hours or a few days, ensure your vehicle is road-worthy and ready for the trip.
- Before heading out, inspect your car to ensure everything is good to go, including your brakes, tires, lights, fluids, and wipers. If any of these fail on the road, it could cause an accident.
- Plan your trip. Plan your travel route, including alternate routes in case of heavy traffic or construction, and estimate your travel time to allow for delays and breaks so you don’t feel the need to speed.
- Don’t forget to take the weather into consideration and adjust your plans accordingly. Driving in rainy conditions will affect your travel much differently than in sunny conditions, and you will need to take appropriate precautions.
- Buckle up! Reinforce the importance of seat belt usage for all passengers, including children. Ensure you have the proper child restraints based on age, weight, and height.
Responsible driving practices
During weekend festivities, ensure you promote responsible alcohol consumption and – most importantly – designated drivers. You should also:
- Discuss alternate transportation options, like taxis, ride-share services (like Uber or Lyft), or public transportation.
- Avoid distractions, including keeping your cell phone out of reach, pre-programming your GPS, and using the hands-free option for calls.
- Obey Columbus traffic laws, including adhering to speed limits and following all traffic signals, and avoiding reckless or aggressive driving.
- Engage in defensive driving, like maintaining a safe following distance, keeping an eye on the road ahead, and anticipating potential hazards.
- Always share the road and be considerate of bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists.
The most dangerous DUI days of the year
MoneyGeek recently put out a forecast of the most dangerous DUI days of the year, and a few summer days popped up. In fact, they note that “Summer will account for 28% of drunk driving-related fatalities, making it the deadliest season.” They forecast that Independence Day, July 4, will be the most deadly day of the year, predicting 311 deaths due to drunk driving. They also note that “60% of drunk driving-related fatalities happen on the weekends (Friday through Sunday).”
Memorial Day is the fifth most dangerous holiday for drunk driving, with Labor Day coming in fourth (it’s also the second most deadly weekend).
How a Columbus injury attorney can help after a car accident
If you've been involved in a car accident and are dealing with the aftermath, hiring an attorney can be highly beneficial. An attorney with expertise in car accident cases can assist you in several ways.
- Legal guidance: An attorney will provide you with comprehensive legal advice and guidance throughout the process. They will explain your rights, help you understand the applicable laws, and guide you on the best course of action to pursue your case effectively.
- Investigation: Attorneys have the knowledge and resources to conduct a thorough investigation into your accident. They will gather evidence such as accident reports, witness statements, photographs, and medical records to build a strong case on your behalf.
- Determining liability: Establishing liability in a car accident case can be complex. An attorney will assess the circumstances surrounding your accident, review evidence, and identify the parties responsible. They will help determine if multiple parties are involved, such as negligent drivers, vehicle manufacturers, or government entities.
- Negotiations with insurance companies: Dealing with insurance companies can be challenging. Attorneys have experience in negotiating with insurance adjusters to ensure you receive fair compensation. They will advocate for your rights and handle all communication and settlement discussions on your behalf.
- Calculating damages: Assessing the full extent of your damages is crucial for a fair settlement. Attorneys will evaluate your medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any future costs related to your injuries. They will ensure that all relevant damages are considered during the negotiation or litigation process.
- Representation: If your case goes to court, an attorney will provide skilled representation. They will prepare your case, present evidence, and argue on your behalf in front of a judge and jury. Having an experienced attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of a successful outcome.
- Dealing with legal procedures and deadlines: Car accident cases involve complex legal procedures and strict deadlines. An attorney will ensure that all necessary documents are filed correctly and within the required timeframes, preventing any potential procedural errors that could harm your case.
- Peace of mind: Engaging an attorney allows you to focus on your recovery and well-being while knowing that a knowledgeable professional is handling your legal matters. This peace of mind can alleviate stress during a challenging time.
Remember, however, that each case is unique, and the specific ways an attorney can assist you may vary depending on the circumstances. Consulting with an attorney during an initial consultation can help you understand how they can specifically help you with your car accident case.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in the Columbus area, no matter where you live, the lawyers at Soroka & Associates want to help. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation and we can answer all of your questions. Simply call our offices or submit our contact form to get started.