Thanksgiving is the busiest travel holiday of the year. The 2018 Thanksgiving holiday travel period extends from Wednesday, November 21 – Sunday, November 25. Approximately 48.5 million Americans are expected to drive 50 miles or more for the 2018 holiday period, according to AAA. It is estimated that 2.8 million Floridians will do the same this Thanksgiving. The majority of those travelers, more than 89 percent, will be driving to their destination.
If you plan to drive, be prepared for delays. Be respectful of other drivers and follow the rules of the road. Many accidents are a result of driver frustration. There were 20% more fatal crashes nationally in the 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. travel period during the Thanksgiving holiday. Not surprisingly, more crashes occurred in the rain and in inclement weather conditions, and 40% of the fatal Thanksgiving crashes involved drinking and driving, according to the Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
As experienced Miami auto accident attorneys, we know the devastation a car accident can cause. It can ruin more than just your holiday. Here are some safe driving tips to help you arrive safely at your destination this Thanksgiving.
• Avoid driving at the most dangerous times. Many drivers think it is best to begin their trip very early in the morning or late into the night to avoid the traffic. However, this strategy comes with risk. Driving between midnight and 6 a.m. is considered the most dangerous time to be on the roads.
• Do not drive drowsy. Driving drowsy can produce some of the same side effects as drunk driving. Listen to your body. If you are excessively yawning, missing traffic signs and exits or find yourself drifting lanes. It is time to pull over and take a break.
• Remember proper vehicle maintenance. Make sure your vehicle is in good working order before hitting the road. Begin the trip with a full tank of gas and make sure your windshield wiper fluid is full and your tire pressure is within the appropriate levels. Have your vehicle thoroughly checked for leaks, worn brakes, tires and hoses, etc. before hitting the road.
• Never drink and drive. Even one drink can have an impact on your driving ability, putting you, your passengers and other people on the road at risk. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Always designate a sober driver, call a cab or an Uber.
• Buckle up. When used properly, seatbelts reduce the risk of fatal injury to those in the front seat by 45 percent and reduce moderate to critical injury by 50 percent, according to the National Safety Council. It is also the law in Florida. This law applies to not only the driver, but front-seat passengers as well.
• Ensure your child’s car seat is properly installed. When it comes to child safety seats the statistics are alarming. It is estimated that four out of five child safety seats are installed incorrectly. If involved in a auto accident, this can result in serious injury or death to your child. Before making the Thanksgiving holiday trip, make sure your child’s car seat is properly installed.
• Do not drive distracted. Texting is not the only driving distraction to avoid while on the road. Other driving distractions include: talking on the phone, watching videos, reading, finding directions, eating and drinking, tending to children in the backseat, adjusting the radio, etc. Any activity that takes your focus off the road for a second is a driving distraction.
• Pay attention to your vehicle’s capacity. When packing up the family for a long trip, it’s easy to overload the vehicle. Make sure and check your vehicle’s weight limit, which is typically printed on the inside of the driver side door. Make sure you are not overloading it with passengers or luggage.
• Stay informed. Stay tuned to local news for accident reports, road closures and changing weather conditions, which can all affect the course of your trip.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, it is very important to consult with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney immediately. Florida auto accident victims have only 14 days to seek initial medical attention to receive insurance benefits after an accident, so it is important you are seen by a doctor as soon as possible following the accident. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients. Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.