Triple A projects that this year 43.6 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, which is an increase of 0.7 percent over the 43.3 million people who traveled last year. AAA has also said that this year, about 90 percent or 39.1 million people plan to travel in a vehicle. This is a slight increase compared to last year. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday and a time when families get together, it is also a time when a number of auto accidents occur due to increased traffic on our roadways.
Thanksgiving Accident Statistics
According to a University of Alabama study, during each Thanksgiving week from 2005 to 2010, the average number of traffic fatalities nationwide was 798. For all other weeks that average was 748. A 2009 study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found that Thanksgiving is one of four federal holidays (along with New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day) when there is a higher-than-average ratio of fatal crashes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more people died on Thanksgiving Day compared to any other holiday in 2010. The report states that 431 people died just on that one day.
Better Safe Than Sorry
There are several steps drivers would be well advised to take to avoid a serious injury or fatal accident this Thanksgiving. First, it is important to make sure that the vehicle is in good working order. Check the tire pressure, brakes and windshield wipers. Always buckle up and refrain from driving while distracted, impaired or fatigued.
Observe speed limits. Driving too fast or too slow can increase your chances of getting involved in a car accident. Be respectful of other motorists and follow the rules of the road. If you have car trouble, pull off the road as soon and as safely as possible. Also, make sure you get enough sleep before getting on the road. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that drivers get between seven and nine hours of sleep before starting out on a long road trip.
Protecting Your Rights
Here are a few tips that will help you protect your rights if you have been involved in a car accident. If you are able to do so, get as much information as possible including driver’s license, vehicle license plate, auto insurance and contact information, both, for the parties involved in the collision and for witnesses. Take photographs of the crash site even if you only have a cell phone that has a camera. For more information about pursuing your legal rights, click here.