A California personal injury lawyer discusses common highway hazards drivers encounter on Thanksgiving weekend and offers traffic safety suggestions for avoiding them.
Over 40 million Americans are expected to hit the roads for the Thanksgiving holiday, according to AAA. Although New Year’s Eve is often attributed as the holiday with the most DUI fatalities, it actually runs a distant second to Thanksgiving, explains a California personal injury lawyer. Last year in California, there were over 1,400 DUI arrests over the holiday weekend. In addition to the increased incidence of drunk driving, there will be other road hazards, such as traffic jams and seasonal weather issues.
Driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is illegal under California state law. Last year during the Thanksgiving weekend, 30 people were killed on California freeways. Drinking and driving poses a significant risk to you and others—not to mention the fines or jail time that accompany even a first offense. Always have a designated driver or call a taxi if you’re unable to drive.
Heavy traffic is unfortunately another reality of driving during a long holiday weekend. Reviewing your itinerary before you leave with websites such as www.traffic.com and www.chp.gov/ will help you avoid congested roads, heavy traffic volume, or closed passes.
In addition, animal collisions are quite common on both highways and rural roads. The Highway Loss Data Institute’s latest report indicates that since 2000, fatal crashes with deer and other animals have increased by 50%. November is mating season, and such collisions are three times as likely during this month than any other. California is 7th in the nation for fatal motor vehicle collisions involving animals. Each year in the U.S. there are approximately 1.5 million auto-verses-deer accidents.
Crashes involving deer have increased by 22% in the last five years in this state, explains a California personal injury lawyer. Just last month, we had two separate accidents here in Orange County. The first accident occurred on Tonner Canyon Road in Brea and, the second, on Ortega Highway just west of Carillo Road. In both incidents, there was damage to the vehicles but no driver injuries reported. Experts advise drivers not to swerve drastically to avoid deer but to slow down and continue on the paths they are traveling.
Here are some driving safety suggestions for Thanksgiving weekend:
- Check your vehicle to ensure that windshield wipers, pressure, oil levels, and coolant are properly maintained.
- Check tires for appropriate tread and pressure.
- Since November marks the beginning of the rain and snow season here in California, check the weather at your destination at www.weather.com and for current weather conditions along major highways visit www.drivecast.com.
- Distractions from children can create added stress while traveling. Be sure to prepare games, DVD’s, and snacks in advance to avoid potential problems.
- Prepare for emergencies by always having a charged cell phone with you in the car
- If you are travelling through the deserts or mountains, it is always a good idea to carry water, food, blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a small shovel, and some basic hand tools.
- Don’t drink and drive!
All of us at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis, and Leslie would like to wish you and your family a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
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