Are you planning to travel by car over the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday? You need to think carefully about car accident risks. For many Virginia residents, Thanksgiving is a time to visit family members and friends, and to celebrate over food and drink. While many individuals and families alike often plan their Thanksgiving travel on commercial airlines or trains, this year is likely to be a bit different. For those who are still planning to travel, many have decided that air or train travel is unsafe due to COVID-19, and they are planning to travel by car instead.
Given that thousands of Americans already travel by car over the Thanksgiving holiday, this year’s Thanksgiving could result in even more motor vehicle collisions. Indeed, even before the pandemic, Thanksgiving was the third deadliest holiday in terms of car accidents. As more families decide to travel by automobile in order to avoid COVID-19 risks on planes and trains, traffic collision risks could increase.
Thanksgiving is a Deadly Holiday for Automobile Traffic
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), each year on average more than 400 die in car accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Those traffic fatalities occur between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving until the Sunday night after Thanksgiving. Car travel, even prior to the pandemic, has been the most popular form of transportation for Thanksgiving holiday travel, resulting in thousands more vehicles on the roads during this period.
Will the same traffic estimates occur this year at Thanksgiving? Research suggests that the pandemic has resulted in fewer drivers on most streets and highways, but higher rates of death due to riskier driving behaviors. Ultimately, although fewer people may be driving to work each day given the ways in which the pandemic has reshaped work-from-home policies, there is a possibility that this Thanksgiving holiday could see even more traffic than usual given that most people will not be flying or taking other forms of public transportation over the long weekend.
Pandemic Results in Less Traffic But More Fatal Accidents
Generally speaking, traffic has lessened significantly during the pandemic, but traffic fatality rates have actually risen. According to an article in Forbes, overall road traffic was down by more than 15 percent since the pandemic stay-at-home orders began, yet in the same period, U.S. traffic fatalities have risen by 30 percent. According to that article, the reason for the rise in traffic deaths may be due to the fact that “the pandemic pushed people toward riskier behavior,” while excessive speeding became more feasible on emptier roads.
In sum, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that fewer people are driving and that the roads are emptier, but more people are engaging in risky driving behaviors that are leading to more fatal crashes. If traffic picks up again over the Thanksgiving weekend due to holiday travelers, the combination of excessive speeding and more vehicles on the road could be a deadly combination. Anyone who is planning to travel by car over the Thanksgiving holiday should be aware of the increase in dangerous road behaviors, and should take steps to avoid a crash.
Contact a Richmond Car Accident Attorney
Even the safest driving cannot eliminate all risks of a motor vehicle collision. When other drivers are engaging in acts of aggressive driving and excessive speeding, it may be impossible to prevent a serious or fatal car accident. If you or someone you love sustained injuries in a crash, it is critical to seek advice from a Virginia car accident lawyer as soon as possible. You may be eligible to seek financial compensation for your losses by filing a claim. Contact Hundley & Johnson to learn more about the personal injury services we provide to clients in Richmond and throughout the Commonwealth.