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How Summer Holidays Increase Crash Rates

group of people sitting at a covered patio table clinking glasses, there are American flags and other Fourth of July decor hanging from the ceiling

School is officially out for summer, which means people around the country are looking forward to road trips, vacations abroad, and more time outdoors. While this season is beloved for many reasons from free time to fireworks, it does not come without potential hazards. In particular, summer holidays may increase the potential risks of being involved in motor vehicle accidents. Here’s what you need to know.

Summer Holiday Crash Statistics

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), summer holidays have some of the highest rates of fatal car crashes compared to other days of the year. These are measured in periods, typically starting at 6 pm on Thursday and ending at 11:59 pm on Sunday. In 2021, the NSC estimated the following for these periods:

  • Memorial Day: 450 fatal crashes (8% increase from 2020)
  • Independence Day: 482 fatal crashes (19% increase from 2020)
  • Labor Day: 466 fatal crashes (19% increase from 2020)

Among all holidays the NSC tracks, the Independence Day period routinely has one of the highest number of fatal crashes each year, competing only with Thanksgiving for the top spot.

Why Is This Significant?

Considering that these numbers span across an entire holiday period, it's common for people to consider them insignificant. However, when looking closely at a singular day, these holidays average about 130-150 crashes per 24-hour period. Compared to the yearly average of 102 people dying in car accidents each day, it is important to acknowledge the effects that holidays can have.

What Makes Summer Holidays Dangerous?

Although traffic rates typically increase during the summer with more drivers being out of school or the office, there are many other factors that may contribute to increased crash rates related to summer holidays.

Drunk Driving Accidents Are Highest During Summer Months

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 28% of drunk driving-related crashes occur from June to August, with June having the highest percentage compared to the rest of the year. Although there is not technically a holiday in June, the designated holiday periods show an increase in drunk driving and rates higher than the national average.

While the national average of alcohol-involved fatal crashes is 28%, in 2019, the holiday periods saw:

  • Memorial Day: 37% of crashes were drunk driving-related
  • Fourth of July: 38% of crashes were drunk driving-related
  • Labor Day: 38% of crashes were drunk driving-related

Many of the summer holidays are known for alcohol consumption and other activities that may increase driving fatigue or distractions (like spending all day in the sun or watching fireworks from the car), so it's imperative to celebrate cautiously.

Other Risk Factors

In addition to drunk driving, there are a variety of other causes that may contribute to crashes during summer holiday periods. With more people on the roadways and often in unfamiliar territory, here are some other factors to be aware of:

  • Distracted driving
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Fatigued driving
  • Reckless driving

With an increase in traffic comes an increase in potential risks. It's important for all drivers to be extra vigilant when behind the wheel during these times.

What You Can Do To Stay Safe This Summer Holiday Season

Now that you know what dangers exist on the roads this summer, it's time to equip yourself with the tools necessary to avoid becoming a statistic. When preparing for travel, keep these tips in mind:

  • Never get behind the wheel when impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Even if roads are clear, continue practicing safe driving behaviors.
  • Ensure your car is in proper working conditions before long trips.
  • Take breaks often to avoid driver fatigue.
  • Plan your route ahead of time and be aware of construction zones or other potential hazards.
  • When possible, carpool with others going to the same location so you can reduce highway congestion.

Our Texas Car Accident Attorneys Can Help

With it seeming like more and more people are moving to Texas every day, it’s imperative to keep roadway safety at the top of your mind this summer. Our attorneys in Waco and Austin can help ensure that you and your family are protected if a negligent driver causes you injury. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options today by calling (254) 938-6885.