One of the favorite times of the year for many, Easter weekend is a great opportunity for family and friends to get together and celebrate traditions new and old. However, with the amount of people traveling to meet each other, the likelihood of getting into a car accident increases.
The best way to prevent a car accident from happening is preparing as best as possible. Here are a few tips to help you and your family travel safely on Easter weekend.
Before setting off, it is always a good idea to have an itinerary set and your route planned out. Since directions are done through smartphone apps instead of printed maps, have your routes set before leaving.
Additionally, having a passenger tell the driver the directions off the phone instead of the driver themselves helps eliminate any distractions and the need to take focus off the road.
The wintery weather conditions likely did a number on your car, so the spring season is a good time to have a check-up and have maintenance done on your vehicle.
Consider getting an oil change, fluids topped off, and a tune-up to start off the spring. Be sure to have your tire pressures adjusted and tire condition checked, as well as your brakes, lights, and suspension. Have your battery checked as well. The colder temperatures of winter drain your battery’s life, so having it checked or replaced will help prevent getting stuck.
All of this helps before setting off on a long trip, giving you the confidence to know that your car is in the safest condition that is possible.
Pick the Right Car for You
For families with multiple vehicles, picking the right one to take on a long trip can be difficult. You want the vehicle with the best gas mileage and is the most reliable, not necessarily the newest one or the one with the most space.
If you do not have a reliable car, consider renting one suitable for the trip, or borrow a car from a friend.
Distracted driving is one of the main causes of car accidents. While planning your trip, try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. Have a passenger hold onto your phone and give you directions instead of you having to read them yourself, and the passenger can answer any texts or phone calls for you as well.
Make sure to secure everything down if you are traveling with large bags or boxes, as movement in the cabin can be very distracting to the driver. If you are traveling with younger passengers, supply them with a tablet with headphones to keep them occupied, and explain to them that the driver needs to be focused at all times.
Plan on leaving for your weekend trip on days when the traffic is least congested, such as the Wednesday or Thursday before, but do so when your body is the least drowsy. Do not leave at hours between midnight and 6:00 a.m. and the late afternoon.
Drowsy driving is another leading cause of car accidents and is the equivalent of drunk driving in some cases. Get plenty of rest before setting off, preferably between the recommended six to eight hours of sleep, and plan on taking frequent breaks if driving for more than two hours.
Do Not Drink and Drive
Drunk driving is never okay, no matter the situation. Even a single drink can impair a driver enough to cause an accident, so never think that it is okay to get behind the wheel after one or two drinks.
Easter weekend is a time for celebration, so if you do have a few drinks, be sure to have a designated driver or use a rideshare app to get home safely. If you celebrate at home or at someone’s house, make sure someone takes your keys, and stay the night if possible.
What Should I Do if I Get into an Accident?
An accident can be a very stressful experience, but knowing what to do can help you navigate the situation a bit easier. After a car accident:
- Make sure everyone is okay including yourself. If anyone is hurt, call 911, regardless of the severity of the injuries. If the vehicles are drivable, then moving them to the side of the road if safe to do so is recommended.
- Exchange information with the other driver if necessary, including contact information and insurance information with policy number.
- More than likely, calling 911 will have the police come to the scene as well, where a police report will be made.
- Gather information of the accident, including photos and videos of the scene, as well as the surrounding area and any debris that had been left behind.
- Call your insurance company and get a copy of the police report. Most policies require a phone call following an accident.
Know the State Laws
If you get into an accident in the state of New Jersey, it is important to be familiar with the car accident laws so you know what to do next:
- Statute of limitations: The time you have to file a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations, is two years in New Jersey starting from the date of the accident. Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations will likely end in a dismissal.
- Modified comparative negligence: This refers to who is at-fault for an accident and by what percentage of the responsibility they share. If the plaintiff is found to be over 50 percent responsible for the accident, then they are not awarded any amount of compensation.
- No-fault insurance: New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that following an accident, you must file a claim with your own insurance to be compensated for losses. If a severe injury is involved, the injured party may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- Required police report: A driver must report an accident to the local police department within 10 days if the crash resulted in injury, death, or over $500 of damages. This likely means that a driver must report an accident immediately.
Middletown Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Help Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers on Road Trips
One of the country’s most celebrated holiday, Easter, is meant for spending quality time with family and friends. Unfortunately, that means a large amount of travelers on the road. If you have been injured in an accident, then contact one of our Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova. Call us at 732-705-3363 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, Neptune, Middlesex County, and Pennsylvania.