Memorial Day brings to mind picnics, gatherings, outdoor concerts, and car trips. People across New Jersey and the surrounding states get into their vehicles and head to the beach or other destination. As such, is it any wonder that Memorial Day weekend also has a higher than average rate for car accidents compared with other holiday weekends?
There is good news, though. Statistics from the National Safety Council show a slight decline in Memorial Day weekend traffic fatalities over the past 25 years. Nonetheless, no fewer than 350 people are expected to die annually in Memorial Day car accidents. And thousands of others will get into minor and major car accidents, some requiring extensive medical treatments for personal injury.
Knowing how busy Memorial Day will be, drivers everywhere owe it to themselves, their passengers, and other drivers to reduce the rate of highway accidents. They can start by taking a few preventative measures.
Lean into Technology Safely
Technology can be both a hindrance and help to drivers. On the downside, technological devices such as cell phones, tablets, and even in-vehicle screen displays can be distracting. Therefore, they should be turned off, if possible, or at least put on silent during all car rides. This reduces the chance of the driver being tempted to read and answer a text, or fiddle with a car’s radio display to change stations.
On the upside, technology allows drivers to enjoy real-time alerts on everything from changing weather conditions to which roads are under construction. Drivers can therefore check apps and websites before they go on any trips. Taking this extra measure reduces the chance of being caught in a flash thunderstorm or sitting for hours in backed-up traffic.
The idea is to use technology advantageously. Though this takes a certain amount of self-discipline, it can pay off by avoiding problems that can lead to car accidents.
Take the Car to the Mechanic
The month of May is the perfect time of year to take a car to an auto mechanic for a maintenance and safety check. Not only has winter ended, but also summer is on the horizon. Getting a vehicle set for the summer months in May takes away worries that it might break down, or that the air conditioning will stop suddenly on a 90-degree day in July.
A mechanic can also spot potential problems that can be fixed. For instance, many drivers do not realize their tires are losing tread. Though drivers should examine their tire tread levels regularly, they do not always remember. Having an auto mechanic take a quick look can mean the difference between getting to a destination smoothly or experiencing a terrifying tire blowout on the turnpike.
Older vehicles and those that have not been checked for a long time may need extra repairs to get properly road-ready. It is not uncommon for cars with a lot of mileage to require additional servicing. Despite the added cost, this should be seen as an investment in the driver’s and passengers’ wellbeing.
Ditch Any Notion of Drinking and Driving
Being charged with drinking and driving can cost a driver big-time. From fines to jail time, drivers who are convicted of driving while under the influence routinely regret their decision. Instead of getting behind the wheel after having even one alcoholic beverage, drivers should hand the keys to a sober, licensed driver; take a taxi; use public transportation; hire a rideshare company; ride with a sober friend; or spend the night at the party location.
It is worth noting that many people believe that they can handle driving after one or more drinks. This is often a fallacy. It is possible for a person to become legally intoxicated without them realizing they are even close to the legal blood alcohol content limit, which in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is .08 percent. Plenty of drivers have been convicted of driving while under the influence because they enjoyed one or two drinks right before leaving the party, getting behind the wheel while technically sober, and experiencing an increase in blood alcohol content level once they were driving.
If driving is necessary to get from one location to another, the best plan for everyone involved is always to travel with a designated driver. Designated drivers should refrain from drinking any kind of alcohol, ensuring they are 100 percent sober.
Teach or Remind Teens How to Drive Safely
Teenagers are newer drivers without a lot of driving experience. Parents and guardians of teens and very young adults who drive during Memorial Day weekend should remind their young drivers of their responsibilities behind the wheel. This may mean going over the rules of the road and reiterating the importance of never using a cell phone while driving.
Even if a teen drives only a few miles to pick up a friend or buy something at the store, the teen needs to remain focused. Lots of accidents occur very close to home because drivers feel overly comfortable and confident navigating well-known streets. As a result, teens may forget to obey reduced speeds or may be tempted to commit a rolling stop at a red light or stop sign. Hearing a reminder from their parents could be just what they need to stay on track and arrive alive.
A teen who just passed the driver’s examination within the few weeks before Memorial Day may be unprepared for high traffic volumes, particularly on interstates. Once again, parents can help their driving children prepare for dealing with packed highways and unpredictable drivers.
Know What to Do in Case of an Accident
Even with prevention, it is not possible to prevent all car accidents. Consequently, drivers need to understand their duties after car accidents occur. For example, in New Jersey, drivers who have been in an accident that will likely result in at least $500 in property damage are expected legally to contact the police by dialing 911 or the local police station number. This allows the police to start an accident report on the incident. These types of reports can be invaluable later when making a claim with or without the help of a car accident lawyer.
Drivers or passengers who are hurt should receive medical treatment immediately after the accident. Otherwise, they may have trouble recovering appropriate and fair damages for health care bills, lost time from work, and related costs. It is worth noting that the statute of limitations in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania to file personal injury lawsuits after car accidents is two years from the incident date.
Avoiding Accidents Makes Memorial Day Better for All
Everyone wants to have a happy, stress-free Memorial Day. By planning ahead and being ready for congested roadways, drivers can do their part to make the upcoming Memorial Day better for them, their loved ones, and other travelers.
Hazlet Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Holiday Accident Victims File Claims, Settle Damages, and Start Lawsuits
Holiday road trips should be fun and exciting. Unfortunately, they can end in accidents, injuries, and even fatalities. When you need help after a car accident left you or a loved one hurt, reach out to the Hazlet car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. Our team will stand up for your rights and help you recover the compensation for which you are entitled under the law. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.