Holiday Car Accidents Stem From Increased Travel, Distraction, Impairment and SpeedBy Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, P.C.
Nov. 16, 2016 5:07p
Holiday car accidents are an unfortunate reality of holiday travel. There are a myriad of reasons for this, and it helps to recognize them if we have any hope of raising awareness and lowering the risk.
According to AAA, an estimated 47 million people traveled more than 50 miles from home just for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2014. And in December of that year, the agency reported, some 99 million would make similar treks. More than 9 out of 10 travelers made the trip by car, which was an increase of 4 percent from just a year earlier. Lower gas prices and an improving economy encourage more holiday travel. These trends have continued, and that means drivers have to be extra vigilant on the roads this season.
There are a number of reasons why the holiday travel season tends to result in a higher number of car accidents. Those include:
- An increase in traffic congestion.
- Motorists who are multi-tasking/ distracted.
- People who imbibe to celebrate and then drive drunk.
- Drivers who are in a hurry/ speeding.
- Driver fatigue/ long trips.
- Teens/ college students who are on break, driving at irregular hours.
Although holiday travel is sometimes impeded by poor weather (particularly ice and snow), it usually doesn't stop people from getting behind the wheel in the first place. The more vehicles there are on the road, the higher the risk of car accidents.
Because so many people are driving for long distances, driver fatigue becomes a serious issue. Sleepiness behind the wheel has proven just as dangerous as drunk driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation. It results in impaired reaction time, judgment and vision, as well as problems with information processing and short-term memory. It can also lower one's vigilance and overall performance.
Beyond that, we have drivers whose main focus is not on the road ahead of them. Let's face it: We're all busy during the holidays. We all have a lot on our minds, between work, running errands, getting our kids to school, shopping and more. Although cell phone distraction is a major problem (and trying to stay connected at all times so we can multi-task is one of the biggest factors), the reality is that our brains can be distracted by the smallest of tasks - even thoughts. The National Safety Council released a report recently that multitasking is a myth. That is, the human brain cannot perform two tasks at the same time. Brains can juggle tasks rapidly, but not simultaneously. That means you can't focus on talking to your child in the back seat and also be paying attention to the road.
Drunk driving is also a serious issue during the holidays, when there are a host of gatherings and celebrations. It's not just New Year's Eve, either. Between Christmas and New Year's Day, the average number of car accidents resulting in death and caused by alcohol impairment rises to about 40 percent, which is a 12 percent increase over the rest of December. That's according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
To top it all off, we have a younger cohort of drivers - already at higher risk as it is due to inexperience - who are on break from classes, and thus driving more frequently with friends and during irregular hours. Both of these are known to increase the risk of car accidents among teen drivers.
The San Antonio car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ramos, P.C. are committed to fighting for just compensation for those injured in Texas collisions. It should be noted our experienced legal team is well-equipped to handle not just complex claims of local residents, but also the unique challenges of plaintiffs filling claims from out-of-town.