With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a perfect time to brush up on the types of dangerous roadway conditions and safety precautions that are especially important around the holidays. Tens of millions of Americans hit the road each year to celebrate the holidays – often traveling long distances, under stress, and in hazardous weather. These are the six most dangerous holidays to be on the road.
4th of July
Based on recent statistics, the 4th of July is the deadliest holiday of the year. According to last year’s 24/7 Wall St. report, there were approximately 540 fatalities and nearly 58,000 serious injuries reported on Independence Day. Unfortunately, drinking and driving seem to go hand-in-hand on America’s birthday, and alcohol contributed to a significant number of these accidents.
It’s also not surprising that Thanksgiving is also one of the most dangerous holidays to be driving. Between 2001 and 2006, there were over 500 fatalities reported each year during the holiday, but that number has reduced slightly in more recent years. Since many employers don’t give workers the Wednesday before thanksgiving off, Thanksgiving Day tends to be a day of rushed, distracted, and fatigued driving.
New Year’s Day
Another holiday notoriously known for its alcohol-fueled celebrating is New Year’s Eve. The best part about New Year’s celebrations is counting down to midnight, and partiers are more likely to drink and drive in the wee hours of January 1st than any other holiday. Each year, nearly half of traffic fatalities are related to alcohol consumption.
Christmas is always one of the most celebrated holidays in America, and a huge percentage of employers give workers time off regardless of religious affiliation. Most traffic accidents occur between the afternoon of Christmas Eve and the evening of Christmas Day. However, traffic accidents and fatalities tend to decline when Christmas falls on a weekday instead of weekend.
Labor Day weekend is considered the last chance to get out and enjoy the summer season, which translates to lots of road trips and three-day-weekend jaunts. Although Labor Day trips are often just an hour or two away, there are still a lot of summer-lovers on the road and plenty of traffic jams to test their patience.
Memorial Day falls on the other end of the summer spectrum, and is known as the weekend to kick off the season and get ready for fun months ahead. Memorial Day Monday has 32 percent more fatalities than the preceding three days, according to a study on holiday fatalities by Arnold and Cerrelli. Not only are many people doing the bulk of their celebrating on this day, but they’re also traveling back home.
With airfare prices sky high and tight budgets on everyone’s mind, more and more Americans are hopping in their cars for holiday travel. All this leads to slow-moving traffic, road rage, stress, and aggression. It is particularly important to avoid distracted, drunk, or drowsy driving during the holidays and always keep your full focus on the road. If possible, try to travel on alternate days to avoid the most dangerous road conditions and save yourself some traffic headaches too. The holidays are stressful enough without driving at all! Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Texas Driving School!