With the Thanksgiving travel rush now over and December holidays upon us, our South Florida injury lawyers sought to answer a question we often hear: What holiday has the most accidents?
Of course, it depends on the type of car accident we’re talking about, and the area of the country has a lot to do with it too. For instance, if we’re talking about what holiday has the most accidents in parking lots, those peak in December, though Black Friday is ripe for such collisions too.
An Osceola County car accident on the Florida Turnpike left one person dead when a Ford Explorer driver carrying 10 passengers swerved to avoid another sport utility vehicle that abruptly changed lanes, causing the Explorer to flip multiple times. Nine people – including five children – were injured, and one died, according to FOX35 Orlando. Another crash the same day, same county, same stretch of Florida Turnpike also proved fatal, when a driver reportedly made an abrupt lane change and was rear-ended. That driver suffered serious injuries. His passenger, age 28, died. The other motorist suffered minor injuries. (As our car accident attorneys in Orlando can explain, there is a presumption in rear-end crashes that the rear driver was at fault, that presumption can be rebutted if the driver in the lead makes a move that is wholly unexpected or unwarranted, contributing to or causing the crash.)
U.S. traffic deaths in general are on the rise in recent years, and Thanksgiving is indeed one of the deadliest holidays for motorists. The National Safety Council reports 40,200 people died in all of last year in car accidents, which is a 6 percent increase from the year before and a 13 percent rise from two years ago. That’s the biggest increase in more than a half a century, according to The New York Times.
But What Holiday Has the Most Accidents Overall?
The holidays with the most traffic accidents are, perhaps unsurprisingly, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Independence Day. Although statistics on which holiday has the most accidents have varied to some degree, there are a few factors that play a role in why these days see more crashes than most others. Those are:
- Heavy travel. More people are on the roads when there is a holiday. Driving is often much cheaper than flying, even if it’s not effective time-wise. The more congestion on the roads, the more crashes there will be.
- Day on which the holiday falls. While holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving always fall on the same day and result in long weekends, other holidays, like Christmas and New Year’s, fall on different days – and tend to be more deadly when they fall on a weekend. For example in 2012, the NSC reported 350 national crash fatalities during the Christmas travel season when it fell on a weekend. The following year, when it fell midweek, the estimated number of crash deaths was 105.
- Alcohol. Many people imbibe over the holidays, which isn’t necessarily a problem unless they get behind the wheel. Because when they do, even knowing the great risk to themselves and others on the road, we tend to see more alcohol-related crash deaths over these periods. An estimated 42 percent of traffic deaths over the New Year’s holiday over a recent five-year period were attributed to alcohol. Over the Christmas holiday travel period, approximately 35 percent of traffic deaths were attributed to alcohol impairment, which is closer to the typical average.
- Condition of the road. Although this is less an issue in Florida, up north when road conditions are snowy or icy, there tend to be fewer travelers. The same is not true of holidays like the Fourth of July, when road conditions tend to be better.
Ultimately, there is no hard-and-fast answer about what holiday has the most accidents, as it does fluctuate from year-to-year. Our South Florida car accident lawyers want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and urge safety on the roads at all times.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
U.S. Traffic Deaths Rise for a Second Straight Year, Feb. 15, 2017, By Neal E. Boudette, The New York Times
More Blog Entries:
Palm Beach Car Accident Attorneys Must Often Fight for UM/UIM Benefits, Nov. 28, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers Blog