While disasters and catastrophes remain a common theme in Holiday movies, we often don’t think about accidents happening to us in our daily lives. Although holidays are certainly a time of warmth, celebration, happiness, and spending time with family, accidents can and do happen and are even more common around this time.
Generally, there are higher fatality rates during holiday periods than during non-holiday periods. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are four days that are considered the “deadliest of the year.” Two of these days include Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For example, in 2012, the six-day period that includes Christmas had 18 percent more auto accidents than the Thanksgiving period and 27 percent more than the days around New Year’s Day. Additionally, in 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related crashes in the month of December alone.
Why is Christmas season driving so dangerous?
Several factors lead to the increase in car accidents and injuries during the days preceding Christmas. Some of these factors include increased traffic, increased distractions, increased time restraints, increased alcohol consumption and increased stress. Adding to the chaos, during the month of December, there are more vehicles on the road than at any other time during the year. More vehicles on the road results in the potential for more car accidents.
Coordinating holiday events, holiday shopping, or planning a dinner can lead to increased amounts of stress. Increased amounts of stress can lead to mental distractions which can result in a higher likelihood of a car accident. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in distraction-affected crashes, and 391,000 people were injured. There were 3,196 distraction-affected fatal crashes, accounting for 10 percent of all fatal crashes in the nation, 15 percent of injury crashes and 14 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.
Increased alcohol consumption can also contribute to a higher likelihood of an accident. According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, almost 40 percent of all fatalities that occurred during the Christmas holiday period involved at least one driver who was impaired by alcohol. Having a great time and celebrating the holidays sometimes comes with a tendency to overindulge in alcoholic beverages. While it may seem like common sense not to drink and drive, even just a “few” drinks can impair your ability to drive safely and can result in serious consequences. If you indulge in a few drinks during the holidays, its best to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car.
Believe it or not, holiday fires are a leading cause of accidents during the holidays. Each year, over 400 Americans lose their lives and over 1,000 are injured from holiday-related fires. Not only are these fires dangerous, they are expensive, costing around 900 million dollars in damage. Although Christmas trees are responsible for over 200 fires each year, most of these fires come from open candle flames. It’s important to keep candles in a safe holder or in a place where they are unlikely to get knocked over. Furthermore, if you like to have an open fireplace during Christmas, make sure you use caution with any and all activities concerning these open flames.
A Christmas tree fire or serious car accident can quickly ruin holiday celebrations. As you drive during the holidays, you need to be aware that other drivers may feel rushed, distracted or unfamiliar with our roads. Additionally, take precautions with potential hazards such as open flame candles and open fireplaces.
If you are involved in an accident that is not your fault, and suffer an injury, you may have the right to file an accident claim. We urge you to contact us to arrange for your free consultation.
Happy Holidays from Wilk Law! We hope you have a safe and delightful Christmas!