Holidays can offer a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family, but they can also be a dangerous time to get on the road in New Jersey. Who doesn’t drink champagne on New Year’s Eve, toss back a few beers on the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, or celebrate a Giants’or Jets’ win with a round of drinks? People also tend to drive longer and on less sleep over the holidays. Sometimes, there is simply nothing you can do to prevent being involved in an accident during the holiday season. Yet, understanding the risks of driving on celebratory occasions can go a long way toward increased awareness and prevention. Our experienced New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers explain some of the dangers associated with holiday driving and provide guidance on what you can do if you are injured by a negligent driver during the holidays or at any other time of year.
Risks of Holiday Driving in New Jersey
Increased Traffic and Congestion on the Roads
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted that traffic congestion is increasing across the board in the United States. Holiday road travel specifically has increased by about 3% in the United States since about 2016. As one might expect, more traffic on the roads means more crashes. Unsurprisingly, traffic fatalities are increasing by amounts that track the increase in road congestion fairly closely. Given that more drivers are clogging up the roads around holidays, it goes without saying that traffic risks increase in this timeframe as well. Several sources indicate that Memorial Day is the most dangerous holiday based on crash statistics, followed by Labor Day, the Fourth of July, Columbus Day, and Veteran’s Day.
More Drunk Drivers During the Holiday Season
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office releases periodic press releases warning drivers that holidays like New Year’s can result in an increase in drunk drivers on the roads. For example, a press release in December 2017 noted that impaired holiday driving led to the allocation of around $850,000 in grant funding to over 166 law enforcement agencies around New Jersey to assist in enforcing DWI laws during the winter months.
And it’s not just New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve that are dangerous. 2016 saw the most dangerous Memorial Day on record in the state, with fifteen people killed in fifteen different car crashes on public roadways. In response, New Jersey state police increased traffic enforcement efforts from Friday through Tuesday around Memorial Day in 2018.
Risk of Fatigued Drivers on Special Occasions
In addition to the risk of traffic congestion and drunk driving near holidays, people often drive long distances to visit friends and family on special occasions. Inevitably, these people get tired. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has linked long drives and fatigued driving to an increased risk of vehicle crashes around the holidays. Be aware that other drivers may not be as alert as they should be on the road, particularly if you are driving the night of a holiday or the night after.
What You Can Do if you are Injured in a Holiday Accident
Once you have made sure that you and any passengers in your car are safe, you may wish to start documenting the situation that led up to your accident. You should contact law enforcement and report the accident. You may also want to take photos of the damage to your car and/or the scene of the accident if possible; those photos may help your lawyer at a later date.
All drivers in New Jersey have a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner while they’re on the road. If someone drinks too much over the holidays and hits you as a result, they have likely failed to honor their duty to drive with reasonable care, and if that failure caused injury to your person or property, you may have a legal case against the negligent driver.
Speak with an Attorney about Your Holiday Driving Injury in NJ
Insurance rules applicable to any injury claim that you may have against an impaired or negligent holiday driver can be complicated. It is critical that you contact an experienced New Jersey car accident attorney as soon after the crash as possible to obtain legal guidance. You may be able to recover money to pay for your medical bills, damage to your car, your pain and suffering, and other injuries. Call 732-825-6120 for more information from a knowledgeable NJ injury lawyer at our firm today. Consultations are always provided free of charge.