When it comes to the holidays, you may think of eating a traditional meal, taking a break from work or school and spending time with friends and family.
If you make annual road trips to see relatives far away, you may associate the holidays with not-so-merry traffic jams.
Holidays and their surrounding days are some of the most dangerous times to be on the road due to traffic increases. The week of Thanksgiving is one of the busiest weeks on the highways the entire year.
An estimated 48.3 million cars hit the road across the nation during the 2021 Thanksgiving week. The influx of travelers left everyone with less room for error. Over the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday in Missouri, 12 people were killed and 41 were seriously injured.
While less busy, the week of Christmas sees its fair share of travelers on the road in Missouri as well. Sadly, the 2020 Christmas period saw five deaths, 55 injuries, 62 DWIs and 175 crashes.
New Year’s Eve may not have as many long-distance travelers, but drunk driving is a persistent issue following the holiday’s festivities.
Holiday Traveling: What are the worst days to travel by car?
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the week of Christmas traditionally see the most travel across the board.
However, things are shifting due to more remote work opportunities. Families have more flexibility to depart as workers can take their jobs with them. New job flexibilities aside, you can expect slowdowns from higher traffic during these holiday windows.
With more people on the road, your responsibility to drive safely increases.
You can’t control what others around you are doing, but you can use a few practices to avoid potentially hazardous situations.
Top Tips for Holiday Traveling
- Always wear your seatbelt. You must wear your seatbelt when you’re on the road. Out of the 989 fatalities that occurred in Missouri last year, 67% involved individuals who were unbuckled. It may seem like a routine request, but it can mean the difference between life and death.
- Be patient. Congestion and traffic slowdowns can be frustrating, especially when trying to enjoy the time you have off from work or school. However, you shouldn’t speed as soon as you get a clear path to make up time. Your loved ones should understand if you are late due to traffic.
- Limit distractions. Distracted driving is always a hazard to drivers and passengers on the roads. However, the margin of error lessens as you travel during the holidays. Let the essential parties know that you are on the road and won’t respond to messages or calls unless it is an emergency.
- Use travel information apps and sites. Most state departments of transportation have an app or website that allows you to see traffic condition updates in real-time, which can let you know if you should expect heavy congestion.
- If you feel comfortable, drive earlier in the morning or in the evening to avoid high traffic. Driving with less light presents other challenges. You should always be careful and never operate a vehicle drowsy if you choose to travel during the evening. Avoid driving in the morning if you enjoyed too many holiday spirits the night before.
Remember to drive safely and use your best judgment when visiting friends and family this holiday season. Nothing extinguishes the holiday spirit like a severe accident.
While you can’t control others’ carelessness on the road, you can take action if you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Don’t face their insurance company alone. Contact the expert lawyers at Tolbert Beadle today to see how we can help. It won’t cost you anything to see what we can do.