Holiday celebrations and car accidents: Tips for victims

Holidays can increase the risk of car accidents. Drivers can take steps to reduce the risk of a crash.

There are certain times of the year that are more dangerous than others when it comes to the risk of involvement in a car accident. Holidays are notoriously dangerous, likely because festivities often lead to alcohol consumption.

It may come as a surprise that some holidays are more dangerous than others. A recent study of auto accident claim data for 2012 to 2016 found that the Fourth of July was one of the more dangerous. This holiday is responsible for 7 percent more accident claims compared to two other dangerous holidays, the Memorial Day and Labor Day holidays.

The increase is connected to the fact that many people crowd together to watch the fireworks in one location. This leads to traffic congestion after the display, at which time patrons to the show may be finishing a day of celebrations and are not likely at their best.

How can I reduce the risk of an accident over the holidays?

Here are some proactive steps that drivers can take to reduce the risk of an accident. These include:

  • Focus. Do not check social media or text friends and loved ones about the day. Put your phone down and focus on the roads.
  • Stay sober. Take time to let any alcohol consumed during the day to work its way through your body before getting behind the wheel. Stop consuming alcohol at a reasonable hour and switch to water or other hydrating beverages.
  • Relax. Attempt to enjoy the celebrations without letting traffic lead to frustration. Either take some extra time after the fireworks complete to let the congestion ease or put on some music in the car and enjoy the ride.

Although these steps will likely reduce the risk of an accident, even the safest drivers can find themselves the victims of another's negligent or reckless actions. If an accident results in injuries, a personal injury claim may be available to help hold the responsible driver accountable for his or her actions.

What should I do if I or a loved one is injured in an accident?

There are obvious first steps to attend to immediately following an accident. If the accident is serious, contact the police and get treatment for injuries. After these needs are addressed, contact your insurance provider to let them know about the accident. Explain the facts of the crash and let them know about any injuries.

Although it is tempting to move on after contacting insurance, it is wise to take a few more steps to better ensure you receive all the benefits and remedies you are entitled. This includes keeping records of any medical treatments or tests that are needed as a result of the accident and getting a valuation for the damage done to your vehicle.

It is also possible that the insurance company for the responsible party will contact you and attempt to negotiate a settlement. This is not always in your best interest. It is wise to contact an attorney for a number of reasons. First, legal counsel will review the accident and build a case to establish that the other party was at fault. Second, an attorney will also take into consideration the possibility of additional medical expenses connected to the accident that may be incurred in the future. These expenses should also be taken into account in any settlement agreement. Finally, an attorney will help to better ensure you get all the remedies you are entitled, helping to maximize the likelihood of recovery.