Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and festivities. It is one of the most popular holidays in the United States. Unfortunately, it is also one of the highest risk times for car accidents. The American Safety Council reports that Thanksgiving is the third deadliest holiday on our roads. Here, our Fairfax car accident attorneys provide an overview of the latest Thanksgiving traffic collision data and we offer some tips for keeping your family safe this holiday season.
Why Do So Many Car Accidents Happen During Thanksgiving?
Year after year the data shows that a heightened number of car accidents are reported during the holidays. According to a comprehensive safety analysis from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 454 people are killed in car accidents nationwide each year during the Thanksgiving holiday. Many thousands more people are hurt in crashes. Public safety officials note that car wrecks are more common during Thanksgiving weekend for many different reasons, including:
- High volume of traffic on the roads;
- More speeding, often due to people rushing to meet their schedule;
- Fatigued driving, as many people do not get a full week off during Thanksgiving; and
- An increased prevalence of intoxicated driving, especially at night.
Taken together, all of these factors create a potentially toxic environment for highway safety. It is crucial that anyone travelling by car this Thanksgiving holiday take some extra time to get home safely.
How COVID-19 Could Affect Thanksgiving Traffic Safety in 2020
Car accidents are down in 2020. The reason is straightforward: COVID-19 has resulted in a large reduction in the total amount of driving, especially during the prime commuting hours. However, the car accident fatality rate increased significantly during the pandemic.
While overall collisions dropped by 16 percent in the first half of 2020, car accident deaths were down by only 2 percent. In some communities, car accident deaths actually went up during the height of the pandemic. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, car accident death rates are up in 2020 because risky behaviors are becoming more common. Federal highway safety officials blame both speeding and intoxicated driving.
Three Travel Tips to Keep Your Family Safe this Thanksgiving
We want to make sure that every family in Northern Virginia is safe. It has been a challenging year for many people and your family deserves a wonderful holiday season. Here are three traffic safety tips for Thanksgiving 2020:
- Plan Ahead, Leave Early: Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Drivers who are rushing are far more likely to end up in an accident. While traffic is down in 2020, that might not be true during the holidays. In fact, with significantly fewer people travelling by plane in 2020, it is possible that some highways will see even more traffic this Thanksgiving.
- Avoid Dangerous Behaviors: You can reduce the risk of crash by making sure that you avoid the most dangerous driving behaviors. Do not speed. Do not text and drive. Do not drink and drive.
- Maintain Social Distancing: Finally, to adjust for the unique risks posed by COVID-19, it is important to maintain social distancing when travelling during the holidays. The Virginia Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing as one of the keys to limit your risk of contracting the virus.
Call Our Northern Virginia Auto Accident Lawyers for Help
At Whitestone Young, PC, our Virginia personal injury attorneys have the skills and knowledge to handle all types of traffic accident claims. If you or someone you know was hurt in a collision, we are ready to get started on the case. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. With a conveniently located legal office in Fairfax, we represent car accident victims throughout Northern Virginia, including in Oakton, Vienna, Annandale, Centreville, Merrifield, and Burke.