Memorial Day Weekend is here and for many that means the unofficial kickoff to summer, celebrations, holidays, and vacations. Unfortunately, it also means a sharp increase in roadway risks, largely as a result of increased traffic, out-of-state drivers, and motorists impaired by alcohol. In fact, studies have found that Memorial Day Weekend is the most dangerous holiday on American roads, resulting in an average of more than 300 deaths each year. It also kicks off the 100 most dangerous days on U.S. roads and highways.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day comprises the bulk of summer, a time when students are out of school, families head out on vacation, and people celebrate warmer weather and several holidays with parties, events, and alcohol. Due to these factors, this period has become known as the 100 most dangerous days when it comes to roadway safety.
At Lowe Law Group, our Salt Lake City personal injury attorneys have worked with many victims and families who suffered preventable injuries in car accidents at all times of the year. However, we have seen noticeable upticks in preventable wrecks, injuries, and deaths during the summer months. Often, these auto accidents involve many of the same issues and negligent actions, including drunk and distracted driving.
Whatever your plans may be this weekend or during the next 100 days, we want to remind you about the importance of always making safety a priority. To help you better understand the risks, we’ve put together the following information:
- Impaired Driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a year-round concern for law enforcement, but during holidays, three day weekends, and the summer months, officers are on high alert for impaired motorists. This is due to the fact that more Americans choose to celebrate these events with alcohol and, unfortunately, choose to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Alcohol-related accidents, injuries, and deaths increase sharply during this time of year, but they should never be tolerated. If you plan on celebrating, always make sure to drive sober or plan for a ride or place to stay. Remember, drunk and drugged divers can face serious criminal consequences, as well as civil liability for any damages victims suffer in accidents they cause.
- Distracted driving – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has classified distracted driving as a nationwide epidemic, and one that is leading recent increases in roadway injuries and fatalities across the country. During holidays and summer months when traffic swells, driver distraction can be even more risky than normal. While all forms of driver distraction are dangerous – including eating and drinking, reading maps, or talking to passengers – text messaging and cell phone use are widely considered the most dangerous. This is because they command multiple forms of a driver’s attention, such as their hands, eyes, and concentration. Make sure you always make the act of safely operating your vehicle your only task when behind the wheel.
- Teen drivers – A recent study from AAA has found that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is also the deadliest time of year for teen drivers. These 100 deadliest days of summer are due to the fact that teens are out of school and have more freedom to get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, teen and novice drivers don’t always have the experience they need to be safe on the roadway. They may also be prone to risky driving behaviors, including talking and horseplay with passengers, distraction and cell phone use, aggressive driving, and impaired driving. If you have given the keys to a teen driver, make sure your son or daughter understands their responsibilities when driving a motor vehicle, that they always abide by the law, and that they understand the life-changing risks of driving drunk or distracted.
- Fatigued driving – Because summer is a time filled with holidays and vacations, it is not uncommon for Americans to make long hauls or even road trips. Unfortunately, this may mean that drivers aren’t as well rested as they should be. Because studies have shown that driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk (even after missing only a few hours of sleep), any motorist who feels fatigued should take steps to reduce the risks they pose to public safety. This may mean pulling off the road for a quick nap, shortening the amount of driving time and breaking long trips into segments, or having another, more rested person take the wheel.
- Out-of-town drivers – Whether visiting family or heading out on vacation takes you to a new town or state, you probably know that it can be difficult to navigate new territory. Motorists unfamiliar with the local landscape and local laws may drive slower or make unsafe and sudden driving maneuvers, which can increase crash risks. Be sure to always follow the vehicle in front of you at a safe distance so you have time to avoid a collision should a driver make a sudden move.
- Motorcycle accidents – With more traffic on our roadways during summer months, motorcyclists face increased risks of being involved in wrecks caused by negligent motorists. As a rider, you can take precautions to make sure you are hyper vigilant on the road, that motorists see you before making any riding maneuver, and that you always wear a DOT-approved safety helmet. Because NHTSA data also shows that alcohol plays a role in almost half of all single motorcycle crashes, riding sober should always be a priority.
- Commercial trucks – Commercial trucks are monstrous machines that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Because they are also slow to stop and maneuver, they pose considerable risks to public safety. With increased traffic and out-of-state motorists, these risks are increased significantly. Protect yourself by always being aware of where commercial trucks are, following at a safe distance, and avoiding blind spots. Trucking companies and their drivers are held to strict regulations and safety rules, and they can be held liable in the event that their failure to abide by these rules results in a preventable truck accident.
Have questions about your rights after a preventable auto accident? Our legal team at Lowe Law Group is available to help review your case and explain whether you might have the right to compensation. Over the years, we have helped numerous victims and families throughout Weber County and the surrounding areas, and have recovered millions of dollars on their behalves. Call (801) 900-4681 for a free consultation.