More people die on the road over the three-day Memorial Day weekend in the United States than any other holiday weekend each year. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 380 people will lose their life this Memorial Day weekend as well.
The reason? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the Memorial Day weekend sees a higher number of travelers and alcohol-impaired drivers equates to nearly two times the number of fatalities during summer months than any other holiday weekend combined. Despite these grim statistics, there are steps you can take to stay safe and avoid an accident:
- Drunk driving: Consuming alcohol is common during Memorial Day celebrations and many Americans choose to get behind the wheel when doing so. In fact, 68 percent drunk driving accidents leading to fatalities takes place between the hours of 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Alcohol impairs judgement, slows reaction times, and reduces the ability to focus. If you are drinking alcohol this Memorial Day, have a sober designated driver, use a livery service or public transportation, or refrain from driving altogether.
- Drowsy driving: Fatigue causes the same symptoms as drunk driving – slowed reaction time and judgement, nodding off, and less concentration – which make drowsy driving just as dangerous as drunk driving. Allow yourself enough time to sleep before getting behind the wheel with the other 38 million travelers Memorial Day weekend.
- Speeding and traffic laws: Memorial Day weekend also boasts the most travelers than any other holiday weekend, which often causes traffic delays due to accidents, construction, and more. This weekend marks the beginning of summer for many, and drivers frequently become impatient when traffic delays interfere with reaching their destination. As a result, drivers become more aggressive, speed, ignore traffic signs and warnings, and dart in and out of lanes to avoid being stuck in the congestion. The National Coalition for Safer Roads reports that more drivers run red lights during the Memorial Day weekend than any other as well, and all of these behaviors can lead to serious injury-inducing accidents.
- Distractions: Maintaining your focus behind the wheel is crucial – with so many additional motorists on the road and succumbing to distractions can have disastrous consequences. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode, do not look at or answer texts and emails, or mess with the car’s infotainment system. Set up your navigation device before leaving home, do not eat, play with pets, put on makeup, or any other activity that takes your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. If you have passengers, have someone else in the car handle these sorts of things for you. Provide children with plenty of quiet entertainment and headphones to help you concentrate more on getting everyone your destination safely.
- Maintenance: One significant cause of car accidents is the state of the car itself. Bad tires, worn brakes, broken and missing lights, non-functioning windshield wipers, and much more put you and everyone else on the road at risk of a serious accident. Either you or a mechanic should inspect the vehicle to make sure all of these functions are working properly and repair or replace anything that is not. Be sure to check all fluid levels and top off any that are low or need replacing. Be sure to pack an emergency kit before leaving with first-aid equipment, flares, phone car charger, water, non-perishable food, blankets, and any other items you feel are important.
Most importantly, make sure child seats are properly installed and that everyone in the car is safely buckled into seat belts before starting the vehicle. Seat belt use is the number one safety measure in preventing serious injuries during car accidents.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Advocate for Clients Injured in Car Crashes
The majority of travelers this Memorial Day weekend will drive, congesting roads and increasing the risk of accidents. If you or your loved ones have been injured in a car accident, our Delaware County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C can help. Call us at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we represent clients in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County.