With the holiday season upon us, there is a good chance you’ll be spending more time on the road. You will likely be traveling to gather with family, and attend other events and holiday parties.
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve is one of the year’s busiest travel times. By virtue of the sheer number of travelers on the road, accidents increase during this time of year.
If you plan to travel or be on the roads this time of year, knowing what causes car accidents and how to reduce your risk of being involved in an accident is essential.
For those who are involved in accidents caused by someone else’s fault or negligence, our experienced car accident attorneys can help you seek justice and compensation.
Common Reasons Car Accidents Increase During the Holidays
Various factors can cause increased accidents during the holidays. Some of the most common causes include the following:
Increased Traffic Volume
During the holiday season, roads are bustling with travelers heading to family gatherings, shopping malls, and other holiday events. This surge in traffic volume significantly raises the likelihood of accidents.
Highways and city roads face increased congestion, leading to slower traffic flow and, paradoxically, more collisions. The more vehicles on the road, the higher the chances of encountering distracted or hurried drivers, which are both common causes of car accidents.
In Minnesota, the holidays coincide with challenging weather conditions like snow, ice, and freezing rain. These elements severely impact road safety, reducing visibility and vehicle control.
Slippery roads and decreased tire traction contribute to a higher incidence of skidding and collisions. Drivers often find themselves unprepared or inexperienced in navigating these treacherous conditions, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
Increased Drinking and Driving
The holiday season is synonymous with celebrations, often involving alcohol. Unfortunately, this leads to a spike in drinking and driving incidents. Despite widespread awareness campaigns and law enforcement efforts, the temptation to drive after consuming alcohol remains a significant issue during the holiday season.
Alcohol impairs judgment, reaction time, and motor skills, dramatically increasing the likelihood of accidents. This irresponsible behavior endangers the driver, their passengers, and poses a grave risk to other road users.
Importance of Safe Driving During Holidays
Statistics show a concerning rise in holiday car accidents, with Minnesota’s harsh winter weather contributing to the danger. Not only can these accidents cause physical damage and emotional turmoil, but they also bring about financial hardships. Understanding these risks is the first step in ensuring your and your family’s safety during holiday travels.
Some steps you can take to safeguard yourself and others include:
Pre-Travel Vehicle Checks
Before traveling, a thorough check of your vehicle is crucial. Ensure your tires are in good condition, brakes are responsive, lights and wipers function correctly, and all fluids are topped up. Don’t forget to pack an emergency kit – a small effort that can make a significant difference in unforeseen situations.
Planning Your Trip
A well-planned trip can significantly reduce your risk of an accident. Check the weather and traffic conditions before you leave and plan your route accordingly. Let someone know your travel plans and expected arrival time – it’s always better to be safe.
Safe Driving Practices
On the road, adhere to speed limits and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. If weather and road conditions are poor, adjust your speed and following distances accordingly. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents, so avoid using your phone while driving. Regular breaks to rest can help combat fatigue, a common issue for driver’s during long holiday drives.
Dealing With Unpredictable Weather
In Minnesota, winter weather can be unpredictable and challenging. If you’re driving in snow or rain, slow down and increase your following distance. Winter tires are highly recommended for better traction. Remember, it’s always safer to delay travel if possible, in severe weather conditions. You can also check with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to see if any travel advisories have been issued.
What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident
If you are in a holiday car accident, knowing what to do and what steps to take is essential.
Stay Calm and Assess the Situation
The immediate aftermath of a car accident can be chaotic and stressful. The first step is to stay calm and quickly assess your safety and that of your passengers. If the vehicle is in a dangerous spot, such as in the middle of traffic, and it’s safe to move, bring it to the side of the road, and out of harm’s way.
Otherwise, if you are unable to move your vehicle, turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers. Check for any injuries and call for medical help if necessary. Remember, your safety is the priority.
Call the Authorities
Even in minor accidents, it’s crucial to call the police. They will document the scene, take down the contact information of any witnesses, and provide an official accident report, which can be vital for insurance claims and legal purposes. The presence of law enforcement also ensures that all necessary procedures are followed and that the details of the accident are accurately recorded.
Exchange Information and Document the Scene
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved. It’s essential to stay polite and cooperative but avoid admitting fault or making statements that could be used against you later.
Take pictures of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles, any visible damage, and road conditions. These photos can provide crucial evidence if there’s a dispute about what happened.
Seek Medical Attention
Sometimes, injuries caused by car accidents are not immediately apparent. It’s essential to seek medical attention immediately, even if you feel fine. Some injuries, especially those related to whiplash or internal trauma, may take hours or even days to manifest. Seeking treatment not only ensures your health and safety, but also documents any injuries you may have, which is important later on if you are pursuing an injury claim.
Contact an Attorney
After dealing with the accident’s immediate aftermath, consult an experienced car accident attorney. They can provide valuable guidance on how to proceed, especially if there are legal implications or you need to make an insurance claim. An experienced attorney will help protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair treatment throughout the process.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Inform your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible. Be honest and provide them with all the necessary information and documentation. Your insurer will guide you through the claims process and work with you to assess the damage and coverages.
Being involved in a car accident can be a daunting experience, but knowing the right steps to take can help mitigate its impact. Always prioritize safety, follow legal procedures, and seek professional assistance when necessary.
Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in Minnesota Can Help with Your Holiday Car Accident Claim
We hope these tips will help you navigate the holiday season safely. At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we are committed to providing support and legal assistance to anyone involved in a holiday car accident. Safety is paramount, and we are here to help if you need us.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a holiday car accident, don’t hesitate to contact Nelson Personal Injury, LLC. Our experienced team of auto accident attorneys in Minnesota is here to provide you with the legal support you need. Stay safe, and remember, we are just a call away.