As Memorial Day approaches, safety on the road is extremely important to remember. According to the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR), Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday when it comes to traffic accidents on the roads and highways nationwide. This increased risk is due to more drivers being on the road, tourists who are unfamiliar with a specific geographical area, and consumption of alcohol.
According to AAA, an estimated 37.6 million drivers will hit the road this holiday weekend, which is up 3.5 percent from last year. More drivers on the road means an increased risk of accidents. In 2017, 345 people died in traffic accidents on Memorial Day weekend. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 380 people will die in traffic-related accidents this Memorial Day holiday.
Our state happens to be a popular tourist attraction for many families. In fact, Orlando is one of the top three destinations for Memorial Day travelers, according to AAA. As drivers hit the road for a long weekend, many become overly frustrated with the additional congestion on the roads, which leads to aggressive driving and red-light violations. NCSR reported that over 2.3 million drivers ran red lights during last year’s holiday weekend, which results in approximately 1.2 red-light violations every second over Memorial Day weekend.
Before you get behind the wheel this holiday weekend, remember these driving safety tips.
- Give Yourself Extra Time: It should be a given that more cars will be on the roads, which means congestion and longer travel time to get to your destination. If you have somewhere to be at a certain time, make sure you allow enough travel time to get there.
- Be Patient: Be patient while driving. You should expect your travel time to increase so losing your temper due to traffic is not productive. Be patient with other drivers on the road who may not be as familiar with the area as you are. Road rage and aggressive driving leads to accidents.
- Take Breaks: If you are traveling for long periods of time, take breaks along the way. It is recommended that you get out and move your legs every few hours to keep yourself alert and avoid drowsy driving.
- Be Aware of Peak Travel Times: If you have some flexibility in planning your travel itinerary, it helps to be aware of what times will be the busiest on the road. For example, the Friday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend is the busiest time to travel and will have the most traffic congestion.
- Drive defensively, distraction-free and alcohol-free: It also helps to be aware of your surroundings. Throughout the weekend, you should anticipate that a lot of people will be heading home from cookouts where they will likely have consumed alcohol. Alcohol is a contributing factor in a significant percentage of traffic fatalities during the holiday weekend. They made up 29 percent of all traffic fatalities during the 2017 Memorial Day holiday and 36 percent of all traffic fatalities during the 2016 Memorial Day period. Be aware of drivers around you, especially those who are driving erratically, possibly under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Do not drink and drive this holiday weekend. Refrain from distracted driving, including: cell phone use, eating and drinking behind the wheel, dashboard distractions such as GPS and radio usage, attending to passengers in the vehicle while driving, etc.
Data from the National Safety Council compared the Memorial Day holiday to all other holiday periods, finding that the Memorial Day weekend, along with other summer holidays, including the Fourth of July and Labor Day, have the highest average fatality rates per day. It is for this reason that it is more important than ever to drive safely this holiday weekend.
We Are Here If You Need Us This Memorial Day Weekend
We would like to take a minute to thank everyone who has served this country.
We truly appreciate your service!
This Memorial Day weekend is going to be very busy on Central Florida roads. Accidents can happen at any time, oftentimes when you least expect them. Call 407-422-4529 at any time over the Memorial Day weekend to speak with a member of our Orlando Auto Accident Team. We hope everyone gets to relax and enjoy this weekend safely.