While the potential risks of being involved in an accident are always present when driving, there are specific times of the year when driving becomes more hazardous, especially around the holidays. Statistics provide clear evidence that there are a specific number of days every year where is significantly more hazardous to be out driving the roads.
Even though heavy congestion is a leading factor in increasing the potential of accidents and collisions, there are other reasons including more drunk drivers and aggressive drivers at certain times of the year. The six most dangerous times to be out on the road include:
Memorial Day Weekend
Many individuals see Memorial Day weekend as the beginning of summer, which is often enough cause for extensive celebration that involves partying and drinking. Statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that 400 individuals will lose their lives over the course of a traditional Memorial Day weekend. In fact, the numbers indicate that 13.1 percent more vehicle-accident fatalities occur on this weekend compared to an average non-holiday weekend. In most incidences, excessive drinking is a big factor in the increased number of deaths.
The Fourth of July
Statistically, the average driver has a nearly 25 percent greater chance of being involved in an accident over the Fourth of July compared to any other non-holiday day of the year. If the Fourth of July falls over a long weekend, the estimated fatalities can reach as high as 500 deaths or more. Alcohol and drug use account for a high majority of fatalities occurring that day or the days that precede or follow the holiday.
Nearly 15 percent of all fatalities occurring from vehicle accidents happen around Thanksgiving. This number typically total up to 500 deaths or more over the extended weekend. Usually, the numbers of deaths include those that occur at the beginning of Wednesday evening through the end of Sunday.
An estimated 390 deaths occur every year around Labor Day weekend when roughly 30 million Americans or more travel over the extended holiday period. In addition to the high number of deaths, usually more than 40,000 vehicle occupants suffer serious injuries in major collisions, crashes and accidents. These numbers are typically gathered from Friday night until the end of Monday night over the extended weekend.
New Year’s Day
While many individuals believe that the early hours after midnight on New Year’s Day would have to be the most dangerous time to be on the road. This is because many motorists choose to drink and drive on the first day of the year compared other major holidays. However, on average the estimated number of fatalities occurring on New Year’s Day is usually around 150 lost lives caused by traffic accidents and nearly half of those were alcohol-related incidences. That said, in recent years traffic deaths rose significantly on New Year’s Day totaling 286 nationwide in 2010 and 348 deaths in 2012.
The automobile Association of America (AAA) estimates that the Christmas holiday travel -related fatalities ranked fifth overall in the US. During this time of year, approximately 30 percent of Americans travel from their homes, causing an estimated number of fatalities of approximately 105 deaths every year and serious injuries that usually topple to more than 11,000 annually.
The number of fatalities around major holidays will likely continue to increase in the years ahead, especially as airfare prices remain sky high. With lower gas prices and a growing and thriving economy, traveling during the holidays will likely continue to escalate. However, the increased number of people on the roadway also escalate the potential of being involved in road rage incidences, slow moving traffic, aggressive drivers and stressful situations.
To remain safe, Americans should do everything in their power to avoid drunk, distracted or drowsy driving behavior that tends to occur more often during holidays and extended weekends. By remaining sober and focused when behind the wheel, or choosing to travel to your destination on alternate days, you can take steps to maximize your safety and the safety of others by avoiding dangerous road conditions and unnecessary stress while driving.