During the winter holidays, many of us hit the road to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones. However, thanks to distracted driving and other factors, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is one of the most dangerous times for travelers.
In this blog, Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys outlines the essentials of holiday distracted driving, so you can protect yourself and your family from car crashes this season.
Holiday Distracted Driving Is More Common Than You Think
When you hit traffic, you pull your phone out and send your mom a quick text to let her know you’ll be a little late for Thanksgiving dinner. You begin to type the message out when, all of a sudden, you hear a crunch. Your car wasn’t stopped when you began your message, and you’ve rear-ended the vehicle in front of you. In addition to being late, you may also be liable for someone’s injuries now.
Situations like this are all too common. With more people traveling to see family, too many of us are driving while distracted by our phones, devices, and other activities. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving injures roughly 390,000 people and kills 3,500 people every year.
Many distracted driving crashes occur during the holidays. The National Safety Council estimates that 855 people were killed in car accidents on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day in 2018 alone.
The increase in car accidents over the holidays is due, in part, to the volume of people who hit the roads. Millions of people clog our highways on peak holiday weekends. However, it’s also an easy time to become distracted. Many of us are too worried about making it to our celebrations, running our errands, or sending that one last text – and forget about safe driving.
Understand Distracted Driving in Alabama
Texting and driving is always dangerous. However, other forms of distracted driving can be just as harmful. These include:
- Eating while driving
- Personal hygiene tasks, like applying makeup or fixing your hair
- Emailing or checking social media
- Talking on the phone or with a passenger
- Adjusting heating or radio settings
- Daydreaming and multitasking
The more your eyes are off the road, the more likely it is that you will crash. Therefore, you put yourself and others at risk every time you look at your phone, your shopping list, or your navigation system. Fortunately, there are strategies and tools you can use to stay focused behind the wheel.
Protect Yourself From Distraction on the Road
When you’re traveling this holiday season, staying focused and safe while driving is the first line of defense against distracted driving.
- Keep your phone on silent or airplane mode and refrain from checking it while you drive. If you need it for navigation, use a dashboard mount or rely on a passenger to help you. If you need to check your messages or make a call, pull over or park in a rest area.
- Make sure you’re ready for the trip. If you’re tired, under the influence, or don’t think you can focus on navigating, call a taxi or rideshare, spend the night, or get a ride home from someone else.
- Limit other distractions in the vehicle. If you can, restrict the number of passengers and the noise levels in your car.
Hurt By a Distracted Driver? Follow Our Simple Advice
Unfortunately, no matter how carefully we follow the rules of the road, we can’t control other drivers. When someone else’s distracted driving causes a life-changing car accident, you need to protect yourself and your family.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe and Call the Police
The first step to take after a crash is to make sure everyone is safe. You should always call 911 after an accident and request emergency medical assistance for anyone who is injured. If you suspect that the at-fault driver was texting or using their phone before or during the crash, voice your concern to the officers.
Gather Evidence at the Crash Scene
The moments after a wreck can be scary and disorienting, but taking steps to preserve evidence can be a huge help in the future. Take photos of the scene, including the damaged vehicles, your injuries, the road and weather conditions, and any other factors that might have impacted the crash. These images, even if they’re not perfect, can help expert witnesses reconstruct the crash.
You should also collect everyone’s names and contact information. If you need to file an injury claim, the witnesses’ statements may become essential evidence.
Get Medical Treatment Right Away
Many victims ignore their aches and pains after a car accident, assuming that they’ll fade away. Unfortunately, your bumps and bruises may be signs of serious, developing injuries – like a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt very badly, it’s always best to seek medical treatment after a crash.
Call an Alabama or Mississippi Gulf Coast Car Accident Attorney
When you’re in a car crash with a distracted driver, you could be eligible for financial compensation. However, you’ll probably need an attorney’s help, since it’s not always easy to calculate the value of your suffering, injuries, and damaged property. An experienced Alabama or Mississippi Gulf Coast car accident lawyer can educate you about your options, guide you through your insurance claims, and build your case.
This is especially true when distracted driving played a role in the accident. Your lawyer can help preserve high-tech evidence like mobile phone and data records, which may prove that the at-fault driver was texting or streaming at the time of the crash.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys: Keeping Alabama and Gulf Coast Roads Safe and Distraction-Free
There’s no place for distracted driving on Alabama and Mississippi roads. At Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys, we take pride in our track record of fighting for victims harmed by distracted driving. That’s why we offer free consultations where victims can meet with one of our experienced attorneys to learn about their options. If you want to take advantage of one of these no-risk case evaluations, contact us today at 251-888-8888 or online.
2018 traffic safety culture index. (2019, June). AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Retrieved from https://aaafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2018-TSCI-FINAL-061819_updated.pdf
Halsey III, A. (2018, June 27). Distracted driving is illegal in many states, but too many people are addicted. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/its-illegal-in-more-states-than-marijuana-but-too-many-people-are-addicted/2018/06/26/c8de8308-78ab-11e8-80be-6d32e182a3bc_story.html
Halsey III, A. (2018, November 27). Distracted drivers are way more distracted during the holiday season. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/distracted-driving-will-jump-by-33-percent-this-holiday-season/2018/11/27/0197d7c2-ec37-11e8-8679-934a2b33be52_story.html
Holiday traffic fatality estimate: Christmas Day. (2019). National Safety Council. Retrieved from https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/holidays/christmas-day/
Holiday traffic fatality estimate: Thanksgiving Day. (2019). National Safety Council. Retrieved from https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/holidays/thanksgiving-day/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.