Does the Risk of Car Accidents Increase during the Holidays? By William Chanfrau, Jr. on November 29, 2020

two friends toasting champagne flutesThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed the holidays for countless people across the country. Even though travel plans may have changed, people all over Daytona Beach and Palm Coast, FL, will still be getting behind the wheel in the coming weeks. Driving during the holidays often means an increased risk of collisions that result in catastrophic or even fatal injuries.

It remains to be seen how the realities of 2020 affect auto accident trends during the holidays. Here, the skilled car accident attorneys of Chanfrau & Chanfrau provide an overview on the risk of auto collisions during this time of year, and review what you can do to keep yourself and your family safe while driving this holiday season.

Drunk Driving during the Holidays

In a normal year, many people spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s with friends and family. There’s increased travel during these festive occasions, which means more vehicles on the road. More importantly, there’s also a higher risk of drinking and driving during the end of the year.

Many people consume alcoholic beverages at work parties, dinners, and New Year’s Eve celebrations. These people may then make the unfortunate decision to operate a vehicle while they are still intoxicated. Drunk drivers are more likely to make reckless decisions behind the wheel.

Holiday Auto Accident Statistics

According to 2019 numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 454 auto accident fatalities during Thanksgiving weekend and 799 auto accident fatalities from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

These 2019 numbers are down from 2018, with an estimated 513 fatalities during Thanksgiving weekend and an estimated 1,093 fatalities from the Christmas to New Year’s Day period.

Comparing Winter Holidays to Summer Holidays

The NHTSA also analyzed motor vehicle fatalities during Fourth of July and Labor Day weekends in 2019. There were 594 auto accident fatalities during Fourth of July weekend, and 448 auto accident fatalities during Labor Day weekend.

These comparable motor vehicle collision numbers speak to the dangers of driving during any holiday. The NHTSA attributed the heightened number of holiday crashes to:

  • Increased travel times compared to non-holidays
  • Increased alcohol consumption and drunk driving
  • Increased risk of speeding

Why 2020 May Be Different

As we mentioned, the pandemic has altered travel plans and the nature of family gatherings for countless people. There’s a chance that canceled work parties, fewer large gatherings, and reduced traffic will result in fewer auto accidents for this holiday season. All this being said, car accidents can still happen. Even though fewer people may be on the road during the holidays this year does not mean the roads are free from hazards.

Staying Safe on the Road during the Holidays

As we head into the end of the year, be sure to follow these safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe:

  • Never drink and drive
  • Use a designated driver
  • Use a rideshare app such as Uber, Lyft, or Via if you will be drinking
  • Always observe the posted speed limit

Speak with Our Attorneys

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the Daytona Beach area, it’s crucial that you schedule a legal consultation as soon as possible. You can reach the lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau by phone at (386) 258-7313.

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Chanfrau & Chanfrau

Chanfrau & Chanfrau has been serving Floridians in Daytona Beach and the surrounding areas since 1976. With three attorneys and two locations, we have the resources to help you after an accident or injury. We are proud of our many achievements, including inclusion in:

  • America's Top 100 Attorneys
  • The National Trial Attorneys Top 100 List
  • Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite

For more information about our legal services, contact our firm online or call (386) 258-7313 today.

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