As the summer gets closer and Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions continue to ease, many people are planning to get out of town for a few days this Memorial Day weekend. Many people view this holiday weekend as the unofficial start of summer, and this year, there will likely be more travelers than the previous year. It is predicated that more motorists will be driving on Memorial Day weekend, which means more car accidents.
Memorial Day weekend has always been one of the busiest times of the year for road travel. This is true for many holiday weekends that offer travelers some time to get away, but Memorial Day weekend is often associated with collisions. The desire to get out in the warmer weather and the lifting of restrictions will contribute to an increase in road congestion during the holiday weekend.
The National Safety Council (NSC) projected that 366 fatalities would occur on Memorial Day weekend in 2020. Based on data from previous years, car accidents will likely cause between 300 to 400 fatalities during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Since there is an expectation of increased traffic and road dangers, it is important that drivers know how they can prevent a car accident on the holiday weekend. Listed below is information about some of the most common issues that lead to serious car accidents and some suggestions on how drivers can avoid these hazards.
Do Not Drink and Drive
The number one contributing factor that has been seen in reported fatal car accidents over Memorial Day weekends is drunk driving. This is a real threat any day, but Memorial Day weekend has been singled out as one of the worst times for this reckless driving behavior, with only the Independence Day holiday weekend accounting for more drunk driving accident deaths, according to an online financial and insurance resource, ValuePenquin. About 40 percent of the fatalities that occur over Memorial Day weekend each year involve drunk driving.
Motorists should always have a plan if they believe they are going to consume alcohol at an event. A good option is to have a designated driver who will stay sober. Another option is to arrange a taxi or rideshare service.
Follow the Speed Limit
When motorists get on the road to their destination, they may focus too much on making good time. All holiday motorists should remember that getting there faster should never be more important than getting there safely.
Many motorists drive over the speed limit, which is a practice that can put themselves and others at risk. Speeding increases the chance of the driver losing control of their car, which can lead to an accident. Additionally, each mile per hour over the speed limit increases the chances of a crash and the severity.
Do Not Run Traffic Lights
Another dangerous issue is drivers running red lights over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR) released a study that shows that red-light running occurs frequently throughout the holiday weekend, especially on Friday when travelers are anxious to get a quick start to their weekend destination.
Always Fasten the Seat Belt
An invaluable safety precaution for all drivers and passengers is the practice of buckling up every time they are inside a moving vehicle. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to ensure safety in the event of a collision. Drivers should not start the car unless their seat belt is fastened and their passengers’ seat belts are buckled.
Avoid Aggressive Driving
Speeding and running red lights are reckless driving behaviors that put others in danger, but there are other hazards to watch out for. Aggressive driving is a common problem in the United States, and motorists should do their best to remain calm and focused while traveling. Tailgating, beeping, flashing headlights, or cutting other cars off in traffic are all ways an aggressive driver may cause an accident.
Travelers on the roadways this Memorial Day weekend should be on the lookout for these dangerous driving behaviors. Motorist should drive defensively and pull over to let aggressive drivers pass.
Prepare the Car
Drivers who are setting out for a weekend road trip should make sure they are familiar with the car they will be operating. Before hitting the road, drivers should take time to get to know how to safely operate their vehicle, whether it is a rental car, recreational camper, or any borrowed or new vehicle. They should be aware of all the safety equipment the vehicle offers and how to use each feature.
Also, the vehicle should be ready for a long trip road or a short drive. Motorists should have a reliable mechanic take a look to ensure the vehicle is fit for driving to avoid preventable safety issues. Regular maintenance should be performed on all vehicles.
Plan the Trip Ahead of Time
Motorists who plan to be on the road over the long holiday weekend should prepare themselves by making sure they are in the right mindset to drive. This can be done by taking a few simple preparations.
One of the best preparations that will go a long way is for motorists to give themselves extra time for the drive. Anticipating a realistic and safe arrival time can make a big difference by eliminating the pressure that may contribute to a motorist being tempted to rush through traffic or drive at an unsafe speed.
Take Rest Breaks
Another way to prepare for a safe ride is to become familiar with the planned route before setting out. This can help avoid confusion or mistakes while driving. The plan should also include rest breaks during the trip to prevent drowsy driving.
Avoid All Distractions
Motorists who plan to entertain themselves on the drive should keep in mind that their first priority should be to pay attention to the road, not the radio, a smart phone, or a passenger. If possible, motorists should consider avoiding driving at night. Nighttime driving increases risks and is also linked to collisions on the holiday weekend.
What if a Collision Happens?
Even with defensive driving and safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If a driver is injured in a car accident, they might be able to collect damages from the motorist that is responsible for the crash. One way to determine if a personal injury lawsuit is a viable option is to contact a lawyer. A lawyer will evaluate the case and advise their client on the best way to proceed.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Help Clients Injured in Holiday Weekend Collisions
During Memorial Day weekend, many people will gather to enjoy the warm weather and honor fallen heroes. However, collisions will likely happen over the holiday weekend. If you were injured in a collision, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer will help you with your case. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we protect victims against negligent drivers. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 to schedule a free consultation. Our office is located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.