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Studies Show How Dangerous the Roads Can Be Over the Holidays

Now that the holidays are officially here, you can relax and spend some much-needed time with family and friends. However, if you stop and reflect on the last few weeks out on the roads and highways, chances are very good that you may feel as if things not only seemed especially hectic, but perhaps even dangerous.

As it turns out, this feeling is actually more than likely reality, as several studies have indeed shown that the number of car accidents increases over the holiday season.

To illustrate, consider a recently released study by researchers at the University of Alabama, which after examining a decade of crash data, determined that the six-day period around Christmas saw 18 percent more car accidents than Thanksgiving and 27 percent more car accidents than New Year’s Eve.

Why exactly do car crashes jump over the holiday season?

According to the researchers, this increase can perhaps be attributed to greater incidences of aggressive driving brought on by holiday-related stress and, perhaps more surprising, distracted driving brought on by holiday-related daydreaming.

“The pressure of the holiday, the pressure of having to find something and running all over to find it and all of those things would tend to distract [drivers],” said the primary author of the study. “. . . Their mind is on other things, and the next thing you know they’re pulling out in front of somebody.”

A study by the Highway Loss Data Institute, an insurance industry research group, would seem to verify these findings, as its researchers have found that collision claims jump by as much as 20 percent during December. In fact, it estimates that the number of holiday-crashes caused by aggressive driving and/or distracted driving could be even higher.

“A lot of that is on private property, and if it’s not above a certain [monetary] threshold and does not involve an injury, it may not get in the records,” said an official. “There may be a lot of these little fender benders in the parking lot that do not get reported.”

It is worth nothing, however, that those planning to hit the roads on Christmas Day don’t need to worry as much given that there are far less vehicles on the road and the stores are all closed for the day.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by the negligence or recklessness of another here in Tennessee, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney.

Source: The Washington Post, “For drivers around Christmastime, it’s not exactly tidings of comfort and joy,” Ashley Halsey III, Dec. 2, 2013