Car Accidents During The Holidays: A Safety Checklist From Stockard, Johnston & Brown, P.C.

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | March 21, 2019
Car Accidents During The Holidays: A Safety Checklist From Stockard, Johnston & Brown, P.C.
There is so much to love about the holidays. It's filled with family, traditions, and the joy of the festive season. For many of us, one of those traditions involves travel. The roads in the U.S. are more busy between Thanksgiving and New Year's than any other time of the year. Add the mad dashes to the airport, last-minute Christmas shopping, frantic family members yelling at each other in the car, and alcohol from holiday parties, and car accidents are bound to happen.

As we all look forward to getting together this Christmas and New Year’s, review this safety guide to help make sure you and your loved ones reach your destination safe and sound.

How Many Car Accidents Happen Around the Holidays?

Texas roads are some of the most heavily traveled roads in the country. This year alone there have been more than 3,000 deaths on these roadways. According to Allstate Insurance, auto accident claims hit an all-time high on Christmas Eve last year. In December of 2012, there were 22% more claims reported in comparison to every other day.

With less people booking flights for the holidays this year, you can expect more people on the road. Around 95 million Americans will travel for the holidays. 91% will travel by car, according to AAA.

How Can You Potentially Prevent A Car Accident?

This may seem like basic advice until you realize that the cause of most vehicular accidents during the holidays boils down to one of three things:

  1. Ignoring traffic laws and road signs
  2. Vehicle maintenance and weather conditions
  3. Speeding

This warning goes out to all drivers, but especially drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Teen drivers and young adults are responsible for an estimated 19% of traffic accidents that lead to personal injury or fatality.

In addition to the three factors above, add in alcohol. In 2012, AAA reported that 1 in 5 licensed drivers admitted to driving under the influence. Also last year during the holidays, Texas law enforcement officials arrested more than 1,000 people suspected of driving drunk.

With holiday parties to go to left and right, like the annual office Christmas party, and the big New Year’s extravaganza, drinking and driving happens. But it doesn’t have to. Call a taxi or ask someone to be your designated driver.

A Holiday Driving Safety Checklist

Everyone looks forward to enjoying some time off from their regular day-to-day obligations, but try not to be careless during your holiday vacation. Follow a few simple steps to help avoid a tragic traffic accident.

Step #1: Use a maintenance checklist to prepare your vehicle for every road trip. This includes: checking the fluids, engine, and tires to make sure everything is in good working order. Also, make sure your fuel tank is full, washer fluid is refreshed, and that you have a fully stocked survival kit in the vehicle in case of a breakdown.

Step #2: Follow all road signs and posted directives. The majority of personal injury claims for car accidents came from drivers missing a stop sign or failing to yield for emergency vehicles and fuel tankers. These accidents caused critical injury to almost everyone involved. Please use caution in bad weather and when sharing the road with larger vehicles.

Step #3: Do not speed or text while driving. Earning the right to drive is a privilege. Don't abuse it by being intentionally reckless or careless while on the road. Something as simple as hitting a puddle at high speeds is enough to cause you to lose control of the car. Avoid distractions while driving and wait to return text messages until you are off of the road.

What Should I Do If I Am In a Drunk Driving or Car Accident During the Holidays?

Many car accidents during the holidays are preventable. However, not all of them are avoidable. If your actions cause a car accident, you could be held liable for someone else's personal injury or wrongful death. That's a high price to pay for negligence. Before you get behind the wheel, ask yourself these questions, “Is speeding to the airport to make your flight worth putting someone in the hospital?” Is reading your Christmas shopping list on your phone while driving worth hitting a pedestrian? “Is not having to pay for a taxi after a few holiday drinks worth a trip to jail?” 

DPS responded to 119 car accidents the weekend of Dec. 21, which saw severe weather of snow and ice.

Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, Texas wants you to know, with some guidance in preparation, these are not prices you have to pay. That said, if you or a loved one are involved in a car accident, contact Amarillo personal injury lawyer Daren Brown.

If you are pulled over or arrested for drinking and driving, or cause an accident after you have consumed alcohol, call Amarillo DWI/DUI lawyer Jarrett Johnston.

In summary, don’t speed, wear your seatbelt, pay attention to the road, and don’t drink and drive. This doesn’t just apply to the holidays either. Please practice safe driving tactics all year round.

Merry Christmas and be safe from Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C.

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photo credit: McBeth via photopin cc

Topics: DWI / DUI, Personal Injury