Car crashes tend to increase over the winter holidays, as higher volumes of vehicles hit the roads, often in adverse conditions.
Holiday Crashes by the Numbers
There were more than 1,000 deaths on national highways between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in 2016, according to an Insurance Information Institute report.
During that same timeframe, nearly 13,000 Ohio drivers were injured in traffic accidents, according to data from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. The same year, nearly 800 people lost their lives in December alone due to drunk-driving accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Holiday Drunk Driving Facts” report.
Whether you’re driving across town for a holiday party or making a cross-country trip, these statistics provide good reason to be a bit more careful this holiday season.
Factors in Holiday Car Crashes
While a car accident can happen any time of year, one of the biggest factors in holiday travel accidents is the weather. Icy roads and whiteout conditions aren’t uncommon during this season, especially in the Midwest. When inexperienced drivers encounter winter weather without reducing speed and understanding that it impairs reaction time, the risk for crashes increases.
Other factors in holiday travel accidents include:
- Extra traffic on roadways
- Fatigue from driving long hours
- Distracted driving (i.e. devices, children, music, etc.)
- Wildlife on the road
- Unexpected slowdowns or roadblocks
- Improper merging or lane switching
- Drunk driving
- Driving too fast for conditions/negligent driving
If you’re unfortunate enough to become a victim of a holiday car crash, it’s helpful to know what to do and who to contact.
What to Do After a Holiday Travel Crash
After a car crash during the holidays, your next steps should be much like the steps you’d take in the event of any car accident. First and foremost, immediately following a crash you should pull off to the shoulder of the highway or the main street (if possible) before exiting the vehicle. This ensures that other drivers do not hit your roadblock and cause a pile-up or, even worse, fatalities. Once you’re safely stopped, follow these steps:
- Seek medical attention: Check everyone in your car to assess for injuries. Even if you do not see any obvious injuries, it’s bests to undergo a medical evaluation if you were involved in a crash with a jarring impact.
- Report the accident to law enforcement: Call 911 or report the crash to local law enforcement. Provide factual statements without assigning blame.
- Collect information: If there are eyewitnesses who saw your accident, make sure to ask them for their names and contact information before they leave. If possible, also document with photos or video the area of the crash, the vehicles involved and their damage, and anything else you feel should be observed regarding the incident.
- Call your insurance company: Just like with the police, there are a few things you should say to your insurance company after your holiday accident. These include the details of the crash, where it happened, and the damage done to your car and any passengers. Also provide them with the other parties’ insurance information and contact number. Avoid admitting or assigning blame. Also remember that you do not have to speak with the other drivers’ insurance companies.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: If you were hurt in a crash that was caused by a negligent driver, it’s a good idea to consult with an injury lawyer who has specific experience in the region where the collision occurred. Attorneys have local resources as well as the experience to deal with insurance companies to obtain a fair settlement for your injuries.
Skilled Legal Help for Cincinnati-Area Crash Victims
The holidays should be a time for joy, but the unfortunate reality is that accidents still happen.
If you’re hurt in a crash over the holidays, the attorneys at Young, Reverman & Mazzei are here to help. Please call us today at 800-721-1678 or contact us online for your free, no-obligation consultation.
Our accomplished lawyers are dedicated to protecting the rights of injury victims from the greater Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, areas. We also serve clients from Campbell County, Kenton County and Boone County in Kentucky, and Dearborn County in Indiana. Please see our locations page for a complete list of offices and directions.