If you’re like many Americans, you may have spent this past Memorial Day basking in the sunshine, barbecuing, taking a beach trip, and just generally enjoying some quality time off. But there’s a dark side to Memorial Day as well. While most people don’t know this, the four-day weekend is one of the most dangerous times to drive throughout the entire year.
Were you or a loved one involved in an auto accident on Memorial Day? You’re not alone.
On average, Memorial Day weekend has around 13% more deaths than non-holiday weekends. And Memorial Day itself sees 31% more auto accidents than the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before. This year, the National Safety Council predicted that 439 people would be killed from auto accidents. The past few years seen very similar numbers.
The Start of 100 Deadly Days
Think the worst is over? Think again.
Unfortunately, Memorial Day is just the start to a season of historically dangerous driving. The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered the deadliest days for drivers. The Fourth of July weekend is especially notorious. The Independence Day holiday sees 37% more deaths than any other day in July.
Why? There are many reasons for the high number of driving accidents during the summer season and holiday weekends:
- Taking longer road trips, and overall increase in mileage
- Driving on unfamiliar roads
- Drowsy driving
- Speeding and excitement
- Driver distractions: more people, more new roads, more vacation plans to make
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Typically, all of these factors increase when schools are let out and the weather is more enjoyable. Teenagers dramatically increase the amount of new drivers on the road, and more families decide to take long road trip vacations to new and fun destinations – where they are unfamiliar with the roads.
And the warm weather also tends to bring with it a desire to cut loose and party as much as possible. From poolside get-togethers to barbecues to boating, people like to drink during the summertime. And it doesn’t take someone who is completely drunk to cause an accident either. Simply having a beer or two with friends may seem harmless, but it can be enough to dull reflexes to the point where someone isn’t able to drive as well as normal.
Keys to a Safe Summer
So prepare yourself for the dangerous roads this summer. Wear your seatbelt, put your phone away, and download ridesharing apps on your smartphone. If you plan on drinking this summer, remember that DUI accidents are preventable. Do not let yourself or your loved ones get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.
On holiday weekends, take the time and effort to host a safe holiday party. If you plan on taking a road trip vacation, plan your route ahead of time and make sure you give yourself enough time to drive, and enough time to get the rest you need to drive safely. As a general rule of thumb, if you do not have to drive, don’t. And keep your eyes peeled for drivers who may not be taking safety precautions as seriously as you.
Unfortunately, even after taking every precaution you may find yourself in an accident. Know what to do if you are injured in a car crash, and immediately call a Florida auto accident attorney to guide you through the possible lawsuits and claims that are ahead.
About the Author:
Steven Slootsky is a 1985 graduate of Nova Law School, which means he’s been a practicing Fort Lauderdale injury lawyer for more than 2 decades. He founded the Law Offices of The Injury Law Firm of South Florida in 1991. The Fort Lauderdale-based accident attorney is a member of the Florida Bar, as well as the Federal Bar for the Southern District for the U.S. District Court. During his career as a personal injury lawyer/auto accident compensation attorney, Steven has served as the co-chair of the Workers’ Compensation section for Broward County, Florida. He is also a Bronze member of the Florida Workers Advocates, a former member of the board, and serves as an “Eagle” member of the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers.