Holiday Travel Hazards; Celebrating in Safety

In 2014, a slowly improving economy and lower gas prices increased the Christmas holiday travel to the point it became the busiest on record, with more than 99 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles by car or air. Since gas prices have dropped to the lowest prices in over five years, 2015 may well beat last year's record. More than nine out of every ten traveler will travel by car; Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Fridays this year, so many people may take off Thursday as well, making it a nice long weekend for a family Christmas getaway. With all these drivers on the road, there are some definite holiday travel hazards you’ll need to be aware of.

More Traffic Expected on Colorado Roadways and Across the Nation

Colorado has some well-loved Christmas destinations, not to mention superb snow skiing, meaning there will be a considerable amount of traffic on the roadways during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Obviously the more people on the highways, the higher the odds of being involved in an accident, particularly when inclement weather is added to the mix. Holidays in general tend to increase not only the number of drivers on the road, but the number of alcohol-impaired drivers on the road as well, thanks to more holiday parties and gatherings. The four day Christmas holiday averages 45 fatalities each day related to alcohol impairment while that number increases to 54 per day during the New Year's holiday.

Thanksgiving Has the Highest Number of Drivers, Fourth of July Highest Fatalities

The holiday with the greatest amount of drivers on the roadways is during the Thanksgiving weekend. DUI arrests skyrocket from Thanksgiving through the New Year's holiday. The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving has even been called Black Wednesday, as it is, oddly enough, one of the busiest nights for social binge drinking. The average amount alcohol-related fatalities increase between the Christmas and New Year's holidays by 34 percent, with a full 40 percent of fatalities due to traffic collisions during this period involving a drunk driver. Other holidays throughout the year also see an increase in automobile accidents, particularly during the Labor Day weekend. What many see as the "last hurrah" of summer, left 147 people dead in 2010, with similar figures over the next four years.

July 4th took the number one spot as the most dangerous holiday for traveling, followed by Labor Day. In 2014, there were a staggering 540 fatalities and nearly 58,000 serious injuries reported on Independence Day. Many of those were tied to alcohol consumption. While, surprising to many, New Year's Day is not the riskiest day of the year to be on the roadways in your vehicle, it is the riskiest day to walk. More pedestrian deaths happen on this day than on any other day throughout the year. While New Year's Day is notorious for pedestrian deaths, more people are likely to drink and drive in the early morning hours of January 1st than any other holiday.

Further Reading: Could the Color of Your Car Cause an Accident?

Alcohol Impairment, Inclement Weather and Distracted Drivers Equal Increased Number of Collisions

Add impairment to potentially icy or snowy roads, and you have a greater likelihood of traffic collisions. The day before Thanksgiving tends to be a day of hurry and rushing, leaving drivers tired and distracted, and causing the number of accidents to increase. When Christmas falls on a weekday, rather than a weekday, traffic accidents and fatalities tend to decline. When Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, traffic accidents and fatalities tend to increase. Icy or snowy roads are also likely to be a factor in Christmas accidents.

While gas prices have lowered significantly, airfare is up. This means more Americans will be taking to the roadways this Christmas and New Year's. Slow-moving traffic, tired or distracted drivers, stress, aggression and road rage can all contribute to serious auto accidents. Make sure you are well-rested when you head out this Christmas or New Year's, and, when possible, travel during times with the least amount of traffic.

Contact Our Denver Car Accident Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Denver, Longmont, Aurora, or anywhere in the State of Colorado, the steps you take immediately following your accident could have a significant impact on your ability to collect the compensation you need. An experienced Denver car accident attorney can fight for your rights during this difficult time.