How to Reduce Car Accident Risks During the Holiday Season
For many of us, this season’s holidays include not only festive get-togethers with family or friends, but also long commutes and even traveling across multiple states. It is important to make safety a priority, as car accidents and injuries generally increase during the holidays.
According to the American Safety Council (ASC) the holiday season is one of the most dangerous times of the year for car accidents. Each year, approximately 500 people are killed as the result of holiday accidents, while thousands more suffer serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
As millions of people hit the roads to visit family and friends, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers to avoid car accidents and injuries. Factors that increase holiday accidents include:
Adverse Weather Conditions
According to The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), out of almost six million car accidents that occur each year in the United States, about a quarter happen due to adverse weather conditions. While heavy snowfall and icy roads could be a factor if you are heading to the northeast or to the mountains, the FHWA reports that nearly half of all weather-related accidents occur in wet, rainy conditions. Rain tends to impact tire traction, therefore, lowering speed and giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination will significantly reduce the risk of an accident.
As the number of people on the roads increases, you can expect traffic congestion and delays. An unfamiliar location makes driving even more challenging. If you will be out of town during the holidays, avoid searching for directions while you are driving or making any sudden stops or lane changes.
If you will be staying in your home town, remember that other drivers may not be familiar with the area and may make unsafe movements. As much possible try to avoid following too closely and other types of aggressive driving behaviors.
Plan Your Holiday Trip in Advance
Having your car break down while on the road may add to the list of risk factors. To help avoid car accidents and injuries, it is important to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends these tips before heading out this holiday season:
• Get a routine maintenance check of your car’s fluids, tires, battery, and brakes.
• Make sure your windshield is clean and your wipers are functioning properly, and that you have plenty of washer fluid.
• Clean and check your car’s lighting system to ensure everything is in good working order.
• Keep an emergency kit in the trunk of your car. Make sure it contains a flashlight, gloves, a blanket, and bottled water, along with a few basic tools, jumper cables, and flares in case of a breakdown.
In addition, map out your destination and check weather and road traffic conditions before you start driving. Always keep your cell phone fully charged on road trips and keep a list of emergency numbers handy. If your vehicle does break down, pull over as far as possible from the road, notify the authorities, and wait outside your car, away from the road, until help arrives.
Tips That Will Help to Avoid Car Accidents on the Road
Practice defensive driving skills and follow these basic safety tips that will help reduce your holiday accident risks:
• Wear your seatbelt at all times.
• Don’t text or talk on the phone while driving.
• Obey all traffic signs and signals.
• Don’t go over the speed limit or drive too fast for road or weather conditions.
• Use caution when driving at night.
• Don’t drive when you are excessively tired or fatigued.
• Remember about the adverse effects medication can have on your driving.
• Do not drive if you are under the influence of alcohol.
• If you do plan on drinking alcohol, use a designated driver or get a ride home.
Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident
Despite taking all the necessary precautions, you cannot always avoid car accidents or prevent other drivers from making errors on the road.
North Carolina law requires that drivers of vehicles involved in an accident resulting in personal injury, death or property damage to immediately stop their vehicles at the scene of the accident or collision, avoid obstructing traffic more than is necessary, and to immediately return to or remain at the scene of the accident until a law enforcement officer completes investigation or authorizes them to leave. You may leave temporarily to get medical help or call an officer, but you must return if you can as soon as possible.
If someone is seriously injured, immediately call for medical assistance. Make the injured person comfortable but do not move the person unless you know what you are doing.
North Carolina law requires that drivers of vehicles involved in accidents resulting in personal injury, death or property damages, shall immediately give notice to the local police department or, if outside city limits, to the nearest office of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, sheriff’s department or rural police.
Obtain the names, phone numbers and addresses of any and all witnesses who might have some information about the accident. Attempt to get from these witnesses statements as to what happened.
Take pictures of the accident scene, your vehicle, and your injuries if possible
Any statement you make, written or oral, about the accident may be used against you. You are not required to admit fault or liability.
Obtain the other driver’s name, phone number, address, driver’s license number and the registration number on the vehicle. It is suggested you request to see the other driver’s license. North Carolina requires both of you to give this information to each other. It is recommended, but not required, that all parties to an accident exchange information identifying their insurance company and policy number.
Report the accident to your car insurance provider. Inform your insurance company of any injury/medical condition and of your medical bills.
If you have any question about the parties' rights, responsibilities, insurance coverage, liability or court proceedings following an accident, you should consult an attorney.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are in business to make money. They do not have your best interest at heart. Before accepting an insurance settlement offer after a personal injury accident, contact the Law Office of Maryana Yavdyk. We will provide a free consultation and advise you on the best course of action so that you can get the compensation you deserve.
Follow the link below and complete the form for a free review of your case or call (347) 536-8644.
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Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the Law Office of Maryana Yavdyk, pllc. or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.