The holidays are a time of happiness, friends, family, and the company of people you love. However, it also comes with risks – especially when you are on the roads.
Minnesota is known for snowy, cold conditions during the winter months. This, along with the increased road traffic, is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only issues drivers must contend with. Fatigued drivers, stressed drivers, and drunk drivers also present perils on the roads throughout the state.
The best way to stay safe and avoid being involved in a car accident this holiday season is to know the biggest risks and how to avoid them.
If you are involved in an accident, our car accident attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC is available to help. You can schedule a free consultation by contacting our office.
The Impact of Drunk Driving During the Holidays
Due to the surge of drunk driving incidents in the state between 2017 and 2021, state authorities are taking proactive measures and ramping up their police presence this holiday season. The initiative lasts from November 23rd until New Year’s Eve, and during this time, police officers, deputies, and troopers will be actively searching for drivers impaired by any substance.
Alcohol is a part of many holiday celebrations, but that doesn’t mean you should get behind the wheel after drinking. This is also true for other substances that may impair your ability to drive safely.
If you have consumed any alcohol, and are on the fence about whether to get behind the wheel, consider this – for the past five years, there were over 12,000 DWIs recorded from the day before Thanksgiving through December 31st.
If you plan to drink this holiday season, it is best to plan for an alternate source of transportation. Taxis, Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare services are available throughout the state. You can also call a friend or family member for a ride. The last thing you want to do is to get behind the wheel while intoxicated and ruin your holiday or someone else’s.
Poor Road Conditions
Another issue frequently seen around the holidays is poor driving conditions. Rain, snow, and ice can make traveling particularly risky this time of year.
These conditions present a serious risk, even to those who have lived in Minnesota their entire lives. Because of this, you need to ensure you are prepared for driving in poor weather and treacherous road conditions. Remember, it is always best to avoid traveling when the weather is bad and you should wait if you can; however, if you must get on the road, keep the following tips in mind:
- Check the weather and road conditions before you go. You can look online or dial 511 to find out if the roads between where you are and where you are going are safe to travel. If the travel advisory says conditions are unsafe, don’t get on the road.
- Charge your phone and be prepared. If you become stranded or are involved in an accident, having a fully charged phone to call for assistance is crucial. It is also a good idea to have a fully stocked emergency kit in your car as well.
- Let someone know where you are headed. Always tell at least one person where you are going and when you expect to be there. Let them know what route you are traveling, too. If you don’t show up, they can call for help.
- Clear off ice and snow and get gas. In poor driving conditions, it can take longer than expected to get to your destination. You must ensure you fill your gas tank before you go to avoid running out of fuel and becoming stranded. You should also ensure before leaving that all the ice and snow are cleared off your windshield and windows. It’s also smart to get the snow and ice off your hood, roof, and trunk area to ensure it doesn’t fly off and onto vehicles behind you. Clear your taillights and headlights, too, to increase your visibility to others.
Fatigued and Stressed Drivers
According to one study, traveling during the holidays results in around 12 disagreements for the average person. This is a huge source of stress and can cause a driver to be distracted and unable to pay full attention to the road. Unfortunately, being stressed while driving is a huge distraction and one that can increase the likelihood of an accident.
Another issue is fatigued drivers. Traveling long distances can result in drivers becoming drowsy. “Road hypnosis” is a real thing, and it can result in accidents. To help combat stress and fatigue, try taking many breaks when driving or traveling. Also, trade out the task of driving with someone else. This will minimize how tired everyone is.
You have likely had people come to visit you for the holidays. You may have been a visitor to someone else’s house, too.
Attempting to navigate unfamiliar roads can be challenging. This is particularly the case if the streets are already congested and full of other stressed and tired drivers.
Drivers who don’t know the roads or the “flow” of traffic are more likely to cause an accident. Stay aware of these situations to minimize issues and prevent an accident.
Steps to Take if You Are Involved in an Accident This Holiday Season
We hope you can enjoy the holiday season without experiencing an accident. Unfortunately, accidents, by nature, are unpredictable.
If you are involved in an accident, and another party is at-fault, you can file a personal injury claim against the at fault driver and their insurance company. Our car accident lawyers at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC can provide you with the quality legal representation you need for your situation and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.
After an accident, be sure to follow the proper steps, which include the following:
- Get to safety;
- Gather evidence (photos, driver information, witness information, etc.);
- Seek medical treatment;
- Notify the police; and
- Contact our office for a free consultation.
Your rights matter. We aim to help each client we represent get the full compensation they are entitled to. Our Minnesota personal injury law firm will represent you as we have others in the past.
Don’t Wait to Call for Help from Our Car Accident Attorneys
We understand that the aftermath of an accident can be confusing. However, we are here to help.
While the holidays should be a time of love, laughter, and family, accidents happen. If you are the victim of an accident, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation.
During this consultation, we will review the facts of your case and let you know a plan to help you move forward and get the compensation you are entitled to.