Conventional wisdom suggests that auto accidents increase during the holiday season. Busy traffic and the possibility of inclement weather combine to make the highways hazardous.
Review what the data says about the increased likelihood of involvement in a serious auto accident during holiday travel.
Understanding holiday traffic accident data
Serious Thanksgiving traffic incidents have been on an upward trend since 2007. The National Safety Council predicts more than 500 accident fatalities on Thanksgiving 2021 if the rate continues its steady increase. The NSC notes that more people tend to travel by motor vehicle for Thanksgiving than by train or plane, which does not mix well with increased holiday alcohol consumption.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day follow Thanksgiving as the most dangerous winter holidays for motorists. The NSC reports an average of more than 350 traffic fatalities during the New Year’s Eve holiday period.
According to the National Safety Council, traffic-related deaths actually tend to decrease by nearly 10% on December 25. Based on this federal data, Christmas is the least fatal major holiday in terms of auto accidents.
Reducing your risk
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol plays a major role in traffic accidents. If you do not usually drink, you may have a glass or two of wine and not realize that you have affected your driving ability and judgment.
Avoid speeding, which dramatically increases accident risk. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and plan an alternate route in case of traffic.
While holidays do have an elevated accident risk compared to other days, these steps can help you avoid serious injury.