Why Car Accidents Increase During the Holidays

November 30, 2023 | By DJC Law Attorneys
Why Car Accidents Increase During the Holidays

Car accidents increase during holidays for several reasons. Holidays may come when dangerous driving conditions (like snow) are more likely. Furthermore, holidays can lead motorists to engage in risky behavior, like drunk driving.

An unexpected car accident can cause despair during a time for cheer. Hiring a car accident lawyer may allow you to focus on spend your time with loved ones. Your attorney will fight for a fair financial recovery, and don’t worry—yes, car accident lawyers work during holidays.

The Holidays Are Peak Times for Car Accidents—Here’s Why

Some of the leading reasons that make the holiday season car accident season include:

Fireworks, Turkeys, and Christmas Trees Often Involve Drinking

Authorities identify December 14 through January 1 as one of the deadliest seasons for impaired driving.

The fall and winter holidays (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) are peak times for drunk driving because:

  • Employees often take a week or more off of work, meaning they may feel free to drink heavily without professional obligations to worry about
  • Many holiday rites, like bar hopping and the New Year’s countdown, customarily involve drinking
  • Many family and friendly gatherings during the holidays involve drinking
  • In some cases, those celebrating the late-year holidays will begin drinking early in the day, leading to extreme intoxication
  • Holidays often involve parties at others’ homes and establishments, meaning celebrants may drive from one place to another after drinking

Thanksgiving and Christmas see high levels of drunk driving. When people have multiple days off, they may feel pressure to maximize their drinking. This makes multi-day holidays immensely risky for motorists and pedestrians.

Holiday Season Can Be Bad-Weather Season

We know that poor weather is a risk factor for car accidents.

Depending on the season in which a holiday occurs, motorists may face a higher-than-normal risk of:

  • Snow
  • Ice
  • Extreme wind
  • Hail
  • Debris from wind
  • Rain (which may be a factor during summer holidays)
  • Fog

We typically associate the holiday season with November and December. These are the months when snow and ice become a road hazard throughout the United States.

Holidays Are the Time for Road Trips

Many vacationers use the major holidays to take a road trip. With kids out of school and adults off work, many Americans hop in their cars and travel to a vacation destination.

More people driving long stretches means a higher likelihood of car accidents.

Time Off Work Can Mean More Cars on the Road

Even if motorists are not on vacation, time off work and school generally means more vehicles on the road. More vehicles contribute to congestion, traffic, road rage, and the mathematical likelihood of an accident.

Ridesharing Can Increase During the Holidays

An increase in ridesharing demand can also increase the number of vehicles on the road. While intoxicated individuals should choose ridesharing over drunk driving, rideshare drivers can cause accidents, too.

Holiday Collisions are Often Preventable

While some of these safe holiday driving requirements may seem obvious, motorists cannot hear them enough. Most drivers know how to prevent accidents, but they choose to engage in risky driving, disrupting the holidays and lives of others.

The risk of a car accident may dramatically decrease when:

Motorists Avoid Drinking and Drugged Driving

Drunk and drugged driving are two of the clearest accident hazards during the holidays.

Those who choose to consume alcohol or impairing drugs can avoid causing an accident by:

  • Arranging for a taxi or car service
  • Calling an Uber or Lyft
  • Arranging for a designated driver
  • Staying at the location where they have consumed alcohol or drugs

Those who choose to drive while impaired must pay for any harm they cause. They can avoid driving while impaired, so there is no excuse when impaired motorists endanger others.

Ensure Vehicles Are Weather-Ready

Start with basic care, which includes:

  • Ensuring that wheels have adequate tread
  • Ensuring that all mirrors are in good working condition
  • Ensuring brakes work
  • Replacing any headlights that are dim or burnt out
  • Ensuring all other features of the vehicle are roadworthy

In some climates, vehicle owners must take additional steps to prepare for inclement weather. Some weather requires extra precautions, from adding snow chains to tires to purchasing specialty wipers.

Avoid Rush Hour

While a motorist has a right to drive whenever permitted, they should avoid driving when:

  • An event in a certain area, such as a football game or a major concert, increases traffic
  • Bars are likely to be busy
  • Many people travel to and from work

Cars are already the most dangerous mode of transportation. It makes sense to minimize the risk of an accident as much as possible, and that may include avoiding peak driving hours.

Follow Best Driving Practices

Regardless of the time of year or weather, motorists can minimize their risk of an accident by:

  • Driving defensively, which means never assuming that other motorists will do what is safe or rational
  • Obeying traffic lights and signage
  • Driving at or below the speed limit
  • Using headlights when necessary
  • Maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Using turn signals
  • Refraining from distracted, tired, and impaired driving
  • Falling all other driving best practices

Motorists know what safe driving is. When a motorist chooses not to follow safe driving practices, they nust pay for any resulting accidents.

Negligent Motorists Do Not Get a Pass Because It Is Thanksgiving or Christmas

No motorist gets a pass for negligent driving. Whether drunk, driving too fast for icy conditions, or negligent in any other way, a motorist must pay when they harm others.

Whether the negligent motorist pays personally for the cost of an accident or their insurer pays, car accident victims should recover the compensation they deserve.

Steps to Take After a Car Accident During the Holiday Season

If you are the victim of a car accident (during the holiday season or not):

Get medical attention

Your health is the most important consideration after an auto accident. Protect your well-being by receiving a complete medical evaluation after the accident.

Medical care is also a means to build your insurance claim or lawsuit.

Your attorney will want you to:

  • Ask your doctor about taking images of accident-related injuries
  • Request a copy of any X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other medical images of accident-related injuries
  • Keep a record of any symptoms you are experiencing
  • Request copies of all medical bills and records related to your accident-related injuries

Documentation of injuries will be part of your car accident claim or lawsuit. If you do not get copies of this paperwork, your lawyer can.

Consider hiring a car accident lawyer

Many car accident victims hire attorneys because:

  • They cannot handle the stress or physical demands of an insurance claim or lawsuit
  • They are not experienced or knowledgeable enough to lead their own case
  • They value a law firm’s financial support
  • They know they are better off with a lawyer’s experience and legal knowledge

A car accident lawyer will handle every step of your case. They will protect your rights (and your case) from any party, such as an insurance company, that might try to undermine your case.

When you choose to hire a car accident lawyer, you choose to accept help. Your lawyer will take your case off your hands so you can focus single-mindedly on your recovery.

What Will a Car Accident Lawyer Do for Me?

Car accident attorneys handle many responsibilities for their clients, and each case’s demands differ. Expect your lawyer to:

Lead Communications for Your Case

Your lawyer will immediately become the contact point for your case. Insurers, court representatives, and civil defense lawyers will contact your lawyer for all case-related matters.

Your attorney will ensure nobody contacts you directly by handling calls, letters, emails, and other correspondence. This will prevent any violation of your rights or privacy.

Identify Liable Parties (and the Failures That Led to the Car Accident)

Your attorney will identify all parties with liability for your car accident, which may include:

  • A motorist
  • A vehicle manufacturer
  • A municipality (who may be liable for dangerous road conditions, such as roads that have not been cleared of snow)
  • An establishment that overserves an intoxicated motorist (which is an unfortunately common occurrence during holidays)
  • An employer whose employee causes a car accident
  • Any other party with direct or legal liability for an accident

An experienced attorney will gather the facts about your accident and determine who owes you compensation.

Document Your Damages (and Calculate a Fair Settlement Value)

Documentation proves how liable parties’ negligence has harmed you, and useful documentation may include:

  • Photographs, X-rays, MRIs, and other images of your injuries
  • A doctor’s diagnosis of your accident-related injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Mental health experts’ diagnoses of your pain and suffering
  • Invoices for therapy, medications, and any other mental health treatment you seek after the accident
  • Proof that you’ve lost income because of accident-related injuries
  • Any other documentation of your economic or non-economic damages

Your lawyer will furnish this proof of your damages as they fight for the settlement you deserve.

Fight for a Settlement

An attorney’s ultimate goal is to secure compensation for you, and settlement negotiations are their first chance to achieve that goal. Your attorney will present their calculation of your damages, proof of those damages, and evidence of the liable parties’ negligence.

Both parties must agree to a settlement. This means that if liable parties refuse to offer the compensation you deserve, your lawyer must consider the next step. This step may include proceeding to court.

Take Your Case to Trial if Necessary

Most car accident cases settle out of court. However, you may need to go to trial if you cannot agree to a settlement.

Your lawyer will keep you posted throughout the duration of your case. You will know if the trial is a realistic possibility. Your attorney will give you the final say of whether to accept the best settlement offer or go to court.

Recoverable Damages in a Holiday Car Accident Case

Damages are the primary focus of all car accident cases.

Your lawyer will create a detailed record of your damages, which may include:

  • Medical bills: Your lawyer will account for every accident-related medical expense. From ambulance transport to rehabilitation, your lawyer will calculate the cost of your post-accident medical services.
  • Pain and suffering: This can allude to several types of harm, from physical pain to psychological distress and emotional anguish. Problems like scarring and disfigurement, sleep issues, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may also qualify you for compensation.
  • Lost income: Those who can’t work after a holiday car accident may need compensation for lost income, diminished earning power, and other professional harm.
  • Mental health services: Your attorney will seek compensation for the cost of counseling, medications, and any other mental health services you require after your accident.
  • Property expenses: Your lawyer’s settlement demands will include the cost of vehicle repairs, replacing damaged property, and temporary transportation. If you have any other property expenses after your accident, your attorney will account for them.

Liable parties should cover all of your accident-related damages.

Find a Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible

Dan Christensen, Car Accident Attorney
Dan Christensen, Car Accident Lawyer in Austin

The sooner you hire a car accident lawyer, the sooner you can focus on your recovery while your lawyer fights for the money you deserve. You will face a strict deadline for filing your case, so find your Austin personal injury attorney immediately.