Please be advised that the following topic is for informational purposes only and not a legal matter currently handled by our firm. If you need further assistance regarding this particular topic, you can contact your local Bar Association for a referral to an attorney who may be able to address your inquiry in more detail.
It’s that time of year again—time to give joy and spread holiday cheer. For many, this is one of the best times of the year as it means they get to celebrate with family and friends.
However, as joyous as the holidays are, they can come with risks as well. In particular, there is an increase in holiday traffic between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, which means there is an increased risk of getting into a car accident.
But what exactly causes this spike in California car accidents this time of year? Let’s find out.
Holiday Car Accident Statistics
The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day sees a major uptick in traffic due to holiday travel. And historically, the days between just Christmas and New Year’s Day are considered the deadliest period for drivers.
- In 2021, the NSC estimated close to 400 fatalities as a result of holiday traffic accidents (they have yet to release their estimates for 2022)
- Nonfatal holiday car accident injuries were estimated to be around 42,000
- 38% of holiday traffic fatalities are the result of drunk driving
- Most deadly holiday car accidents happen on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m.
- The 29th of December is considered the safest day to drive during the holidays
What Holiday Has the Most Car Accidents?
Though the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holiday periods are considered the most deadly for drivers, each of those holidays individually does not have the most car accidents. It is actually Memorial Day which historically has the highest number of car accidents on a single day, with around 448 fatal crashes each year.
What Causes the Increase in Holiday Traffic and Holiday Car Accidents?
So, we know that car accidents increase over the holidays, but what exactly is causing this increase in holiday traffic and accidents?
- Holiday travel and traffic congestion: More people are on the roads during the holidays because they are traveling to see family and friends. There is an increase in traffic congestion because more people are out shopping and attending holiday events and parties. And naturally, when traffic increases, it leads to more accidents.
- Stress: The holidays are also an incredibly stressful time for many people. And when you are stressed, you are less likely to be as careful when driving, which means more accidents.
- Fatigue: With so much going on during the holiday season, it’s not uncommon for people to lose sleep this time of year. Unfortunately, that means more people are getting behind the wheel while exhausted and fatigued, which contributes to an increase in holiday car accidents.
- Aggressive driving: Not only are people more stressed during the holidays, but they also tend to be more aggressive as a result of that stress. And when you combine that aggression with an increase in traffic, it can make for a deadly combination. People speed more during the holidays, cut people off, use hard braking, and many other aggressive behaviors.
- Drunk driving: Of course, holiday parties and events mean more celebrating and drinking. And as mentioned earlier, a significant percentage of holiday traffic accidents are the result of impaired driving.
- Distracted driving: People are also a lot more distracted while driving during the holidays, and anything that pulls their attention from the road can lead to an accident. Some common holiday driving distractions include looking at Christmas lights while driving, being distracted by family in the car, grooming in the car while rushing to get to holiday parties, and using cell phones/GPS while driving.
- Bad weather: While California might not get bad weather during the holidays, California residents might drive through other states to visit family and friends that do get snow and ice on the roads. And more snow and ice this time of year combined with the increase in holiday traffic also contributes to more accidents.
- More nighttime driving: With people out celebrating late, nighttime driving is also more common during the holiday season. This means more people are on the roads when they are tired late at night and when it is harder to see, which leads to an increase in holiday car accidents.
We Handle Your Accident Claim So You Can Focus On Your Life
At Sally Morin, we truly care about the people of California and are dedicated to helping our clients navigate car accident claims all year long, including during the holidays.
If you or a loved one are injured in a holiday traffic accident this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Call us at 877-380-8852 or contact us online today for a free case evaluation.