Memorial Day weekend is a time when communities gather together to honor fallen heroes. However, many studies have shown that Memorial Day weekend is one of the most dangerous holidays of the year for drivers. On average, 366 fatalities occur on Memorial Day weekend, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
There are several reasons why driving during the holiday weekend is so dangerous, but most car accidents happen because of negligence or drunk driving. The weekend sees more travelers on the road and more people outside enjoying the nicer weather, so the chance of an accident is high. Highly congested roadways, distractions, and drunk driving are dangerous combinations that everyone should be aware of as the summer approaches.
Additionally, there is a possibility that this year, roads will be even more congested due to the loosening of Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. With that in mind, it is important to keep driving safety tips in mind when Memorial Day weekend approaches.
Do Not Drink and Drive
The majority of road fatalities during Memorial Day weekend occur because of drunk driving. Even one or two drinks can reduce a driver’s focus and reaction time enough to cause an accident. With holiday weekend festivities, even a few drinks is not worth the destruction it can cause.
Before heading out to a friend’s barbecue or pool party, make a pledge to never get behind the wheel after a drink. Arrange a designated driver who does not drink at all. Also, make sure no one who has had a drink leaves the party without transportation, like a taxi or rideshare service.
Witnessing someone drinking and driving should immediately be reported to the police, even if it is suspected. Do not follow the suspected driver, instead, call 9-1-1 and describe the driver and the vehicle as well as their location. Doing so could save someone from a car accident.
Always Wear a Seat Belt
Seat belts are one of the most important car safety features. All occupants in a vehicle need to be wearing their seat belt. Make sure everyone in the car fastens their seat belt before driving.
Seat belts and other safety-related equipment protect drivers, but that does not mean all accidents can be prevented. In fact, during the holiday weekend, it is estimated that 41,800 injuries will result from car accidents that require medical attention, according to the NSC. Statistically, distracted driving is right behind drunk driving in car accident causes.
Anything that takes the attention away from the driver is considered a distraction, such as cellphone use, drinking coffee, or even looking for a radio station. Particularly, texting while driving is the equivalent of closing the motorist’s eyes for almost five seconds. With increased dependence on smartphones, it is becoming an increasingly dangerous habit.
The best way to limit distractions while driving is to put the phone away, give it to a passenger, or stow it in a glovebox. All passengers, especially children, need to know the importance of not distracting the driver so that they reach their destination safely.
Get Enough Rest
Even if a driver does not feel drowsy, being the slightest bit tired reduces a person’s focus drastically. With the increased amount of other drivers sharing the road during the holiday, making sure one has a good night of rest is vital.
Make Sure the Car is Ready
Since Memorial Day weekend is expected to draw more travelers in cars than any other transportation method, it is recommended to have the vehicle checked first. Performing the annual maintenance is key, and drivers should also check the fluids, battery, and tire pressure before setting off.
What if a Car Accident Happens?
It is always best to know what to do following a car accident:
- Check for injuries. This pertains to everyone involved in the collision.
- Call 9-1-1. Even if no injuries or damage occurred, it is best to contact the police and report the incident so that it is properly documented.
- Exchange Information. Insurance and driver information should be exchanged. New Jersey has a no-fault insurance law, which means most accidents must be reported to the driver’s own insurance company. However, an at-fault driver may be responsible for damages if there is a serious and catastrophic injury.
- Seek medical attention. Most soft-tissue injuries become apparent several hours, if not days, following a car accident, so it is always best to get checked out by a doctor after a collision.
- Contact a lawyer. Car accidents are chaotic and expensive, but seeking the help of a lawyer is the best way manage a potential personal injury
Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Defend the Rights of Clients Injured During Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching, which means traffic will likely increase. Although vacations and summer festivities are around the corner, so are more dangerous drivers. If you need help after a collision, the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can provide assistance. Call us at 732-249-4600 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.