How Can I Prepare for My Memorial Day Road Trip?

Posted on: May 20, 2022

If your upcoming Memorial Day weekend plans include a road trip, you may want to brush up on these safe driving tips to avoid an accident while traveling. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports fatal car crashes are more likely to happen over Memorial Day weekend than any other holiday weekend during the year.

Over a four-year-span, there were an average of 312 accidents per year over the holiday weekend. But you do not have to be a statistic this year. Here are some practical tips for safe Memorial Day driving to keep you safe over the holiday weekend and all summer long.

1. Know Your Route

Knowing what to expect can help make your Memorial Day road trip go smoothly. Before you leave, decide on the route that makes the most sense for you. Some drivers prefer to avoid large highways, toll roads, or nighttime driving, for example.

Many popular GPS navigators alert users to accidents, construction, detours, weather hazards, and traffic congestion. If you take a few minutes to check for these issues ahead of time, you may save yourself frustrating delays later.

2. Leave Early

This year, the Memorial Day travel period runs from Friday, May 27 to Monday, May 30. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that more than 30 million Americans travel more than 50 miles from home during this holiday weekend. 

Drivers embarking on summer road trips should anticipate additional traffic and prepare accordingly. That means leaving a bit earlier than usual to include extra time to navigate heavy traffic and unexpected delays. Drivers who are in a hurry are more likely to speed, tailgate, and engage in other risky driving behaviors that increase the chance of accidents.

3. Put Down the Phone

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of serious motor vehicle accidents in this country. In 2020 alone, distracted driving crashes claimed 3,142 lives across the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.)

While the mobile phone may come to mind when you hear the term distracted driving, distractions consist of anything that takes your attention away from driving. Grooming, eating, adjusting the radio, or turning to talk to a passenger are all dangerous distractions.

Commit to keeping your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and your mind on driving every time you get behind the wheel this summer—and all year long.

4. Driver Sober

Alcoholic beverages are served at many Memorial Day weekend picnics and cookouts. Even though New Jersey has a legal blood-alcohol content of 0.08 % for driving, you can still become impaired after consuming lower amounts of alcohol.

Alcohol impacts coordination, moods, decision-making, and reaction time in ways that make it dangerous to operate a motor vehicle. If you consume alcohol over the holiday weekend, be sure to arrange for safe and sober transportation for your road trip. That can be a designated driver, a rideshare service, or public transportation.

5. Plan for Emergencies

Whether you are driving to the next town over or a few states away this Memorial Day weekend, you should always have some supplies in your vehicle in case of emergency. If your vehicle becomes disabled or you are involved in an accident, the items in your emergency kit can help you stay safe until help arrives, especially in the summer heat.

Road Trip Emergency Kit Supplies:

  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Blankets or towels
  • Flares or reflective triangles
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Fresh water
  • Jumper cables
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Portable cell phone charger

Middletown Car Accidents: What You Need to Know

Even if you follow all these safe-driving tips on your Memorial Day road trip, there are no guarantees other drivers will be just as responsible. If you are involved in a traffic crash and you have injuries and/or significant vehicle damage, you should become familiar with laws regarding New Jersey car accident claims.

Comparative Negligence and Car Accidents

After a car accident, it is important to determine how and why the crash occurred and who, if anyone, was at fault. If another driver caused your car accident, the outcome is predictable. They would pay compensation for your medical care, lost wages, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the accident.

If you and the other driver are both in some way to blame for the accident, a principle called modified comparative fault would apply. In these cases, a jury has the job of making two calculations based on the evidence:

  • The percentage of fault for each party
  • The total dollar amount of the plaintiffs damages

From there, the plaintiff’s total award is reduced by the percentage equal to their share of fault.

Statute of Limitations for Accident Claims

Generally, you have two years to file a car accident claim in New Jersey’s civil court system. That is two years from the date of the accident. However, if someone passes away because of car accident injuries, a representative of their estate has two years from the date of their passing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver who caused the crash.

Middletown Car Accident Lawyers with Mikita & Roccanova Provide Superior Legal Guidance for Clients Injured in Crashes Across New Jersey

Between painful injuries, lost income, and costly auto repairs, a serious car accident can be life-changing in so many ways. Our experienced Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova understand the trauma and stress clients experience after a serious auto crash. Call 732-705-3363 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. With offices in Hazlet and Highland Park, our team proudly represents clients throughout Ocean County, Sussex County, and across New Jersey.