Whenever there’s a national holiday, most of us focus on the time we get off from work and school, seeing our family and friends, celebrating a religious or civic occasion, and perhaps indulging in food and drink.Few of us take any time to reflect on safety, on whether we will arrive at our holiday destination or whether our loved ones will make it to us.
Traffic accidents don’t take days offThe National Safety Council (NSC), a nonprofit, nongovernmental public service organization, released a 2013 report estimating the number of traffic accidents and related deaths that occur on major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. The deadliest holiday in 2013 was July 4th, with an estimated 540 people dying on America’s roads during a 4-day period. But Thanksgiving, which is in one short week, wasn’t far behind with 436 deaths.
Thanksgiving: A Time for CautionBetween 2006 and 2011, traffic accidents around Thanksgiving time accounted for nearly 15 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents for the entire month of November. Incidents have decreased in recent years from a high of 623 in 2006, but researchers still predict that as many as 418 people will die this year from Thanksgiving travel-related crashes. This statistic doesn’t take into account those who will suffer nonfatal traffic injuries. Approximately 44,700 people are expected to be injured between 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday and 11:59 p.m. on Sunday.
Know The RisksWhile bad weather is certainly a factor in causing traffic accidents around the winter holidays, drunk or impaired driving is thought to be a major contributor. The strength of the economy also influences the number of people on the road. For 2014, AAA predicts that consumer optimism and low gas prices will result in 41.3 million people traveling at least 50 miles from home during Thanksgiving weekend.
According to AAA, 67 percent of all fatal accidents happen in rural areas such as ours, partly because people are less likely to wear their seat belts in such communities and partly because it can take a long time for help to arrive after a crash.Safety belts are the single most effective way to protect your family in vehicle collisions. Of course, an accident can happen to anyone. Contact me to discuss yours.