End of Summer Means More Personal Injuries
Labor Day Weekend is upon us, and with it the end of the summer travel season. Since it is the last opportunity for many travelers to get out of town before the end of summer and because there’s something about the end of summer that just makes people think they need to party, Labor Day Weekend is one of the deadliest on the road nationwide and a time when people are just more prone to injuries.
What contributes to deadly conditions?
The National Safety Council estimates 398 people will die on U.S. roads this weekend. Holiday weekends are a traditional travel period, and since most families and individuals choose to travel by car, car crash and fatality statistics are naturally higher. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a little more than half of crash fatalities occur in rural areas. This may be attributed to travel on unfamiliar roads. Alcohol or otherwise impaired driving is a factor in a significant portion of these cases. And the longer holiday period – stretching from Friday evening to end of day Monday, Sept. 2, is also a contributing factor to the increase in car crash deaths. There are other factors at work including less experienced drivers such as high school or college students driving for longer stretches of time and late night or early morning travel.
So, how can you avoid these risks and have an injury-free Labor Day weekend?
First off, we can’t stress enough the importance of driving sober. The National Safety Council estimates than around one-third of a predicted 400 car crash fatalities that occur during the Labor Day period will involve alcohol. If you’ve been drinking, take an Uber or Lyft, get a ride from a friend or just stay home. It’s not worth the risk – both in terms of criminal charges and personal injury liability.
Do not allow your teenager to travel alone with friends over a holiday weekend. A teenager’s risk of crashing their car increases exponentially with every additional passenger according to AAA. An adult passenger actually reduces the risks posed by teen drivers.
Avoid distractions. Use a “do not disturb” message on your smart phone to alert those who may contact you that you are driving and cannot answer the phone. In 2017, 451 people were killed in crashes resulting from distracted driving in Texas.
Don’t speed. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that speeding killed 9,717 people, approximately 26 percent of all traffic fatalities that year. Experts consider speeding an aggressive driving behavior and one that demonstrates a detachment or neglect of care for others on the road.
If traveling, take precautions such as switching drivers periodically, taking breaks and avoiding travel when you are tired. Use a navigation system with audible guidance to direct you on a long road trip. If you don’t have a navigation system or smart phone, entrust the navigation to another passenger. Don’t try to look at a map while driving.
Be especially attentive at intersections. More than 700 people died in crashes involving intersections in Texas in 2017, the last year for which records are available.
Motorcycle travel is especially popular during holiday weekends. If traveling on a motorcycle, wear a helmet. Nearly 500 motorcyclists (including both operators and passengers) were killed in 2017, according to TxDOT. Motorists should be especially aware of motorcyclists in rural areas where leisure travelers may be on the road.
Be aware of the increased risk for a crash and related injuries this holiday weekend! Got a question about a personal injury case? Your Dallas personal injury attorney can help. Call us to discuss your case.