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Driving on Thanksgiving Day: Tips to Stay Safe

Driving on Thanksgiving Day: Tips to Stay Safe in California Roads

Although Thanksgiving is a holiday known for its happy and relaxed atmosphere, it’s also one of the worst times to drive around. Transport authorities note an increased risk of traffic accidents and collisions all over the state of California because normal congestion goes out of the window as people rush about. With many people having a lot of time to spend with family and friends, the volume of driving on Thanksgiving day increases the likelihood of accidents.

This is also a holiday meant for big meals and celebrations, often involving alcohol. Increased alcohol consumption can impair drivers’ judgment and reaction times, leading to a higher risk of Thanksgiving car accidents. Furthermore, the long drives, preparations, and late-night gatherings can result in driver fatigue. This can affect concentration and alertness, making it more likely for drivers to make mistakes or fall asleep at the wheel.

So what do you need to do if you unfortunately find yourself the victim of a collision on one of the busiest holidays of the year? We find help. In this blog, we are going to discuss:

  • The most common traffic accidents at Thanksgiving
  • Typical locations in California for traffic accidents
  • What to do if you need legal help after a vehicle crash

Most Common Traffic Accidents On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is easily the busiest day to travel and, depending on the region, Thanksgiving car accidents can spike if weather conditions are not ideal. Snow, ice, rain, and fog can make roads slippery and reduce visibility. The widespread use of smartphones and GPS devices, leading to distracted driving, is also a significant concern. 

Traveling on Thanksgiving day often involves college students and young adults returning home for the holiday. This increased traffic, combined with some individuals’ limited driving experience and potential unfamiliarity with various road conditions, can make rush hours particularly risky. 

To ensure the safety of everyone on the road and reduce the chance of Thanksgiving car accidents, drivers must exhibit good travel behavior, meticulously plan their trips, and ensure they are well-rested before getting behind the wheel. In addition, they must refrain from consuming alcohol if they intend to travel and remain attentive throughout their journey.

A safe holiday travel season also means following speed limits and recommendations from transportation authorities. Remember to adjust driving behaviors to accommodate weather conditions, and above all, avoid distractions. 

Let’s review some of the most common accidents in Thanksgiving:

1. Rear-End Collisions

With so many people rushing in the busiest hours before dinner, it’s common to see bumper-to-bumper traffic that ends up as rear-end collisions. The impact of these accidents often cause whiplash and concussions.

2. Distracted Driving

The use of smartphones, built-in satellite navigation systems like Google Maps, or other devices while driving can result in accidents due to inattentiveness. The risk of accidents and injury increases tenfold before and during Thanksgiving, and can even result in death.

3. Speeding

Some drivers may exceed speed limits, especially on the long highway stretches common in California. Depending on the force of the collision, it can result in fractures or broken bones.

4. Impaired Driving

Thanksgiving celebrations often involve alcohol consumption and accidents caused by drunk drivers generally increase during the holidays. Long road trips and late-night driving can also increase the risk of accidents due to reduced reaction times and impaired judgment.

5. Weather-Related Accidents

Happening at the final stretch of fall and the start of the winter season, Thanksgiving can bring adverse weather conditions that can make roads slippery and reduce visibility, contributing to accidents.

6. Improper Driving

California is notorious for its tricky roads. Many drivers who are not familiar with the local traffic might find themselves doing unsafe maneuvers, like sudden lane changes. Improper seatbelt use can also cause injuries such as bruising, abdominal injuries, and fractures.

7. Animal Collisions

In some areas of California, collisions with wildlife like coyotes or deer can be more common. The impact with animals can cause spinal and head trauma, varying from minor concussions to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) — even when a seatbelt is used. 

8. Mechanical Failures

Vehicle breakdowns or mechanical failures are a common cause of accidents in the US. The extended hours on the road, particularly during long-distance drives, make it more likely for drivers to lose control and cause a collision or obstruct traffic if the vehicle stalls.

9. Inexperienced Drivers

College students and young adults returning home for the holiday may have limited driving experience, thus increasing the likelihood of road accidents. Furthermore, many of them ride motorcycles, thereby doubling the risk. 

10. Improperly Secured Cargo

Ensuring proper security of items on or inside cars and commercial vehicles is crucial to prevent potential hazards on the road. These dangers can lead to accidents resulting in cuts and lacerations caused by broken windshields, sharp objects, or debris. Even airbag deployment can cause abrasions and burns. 

Common Locations In California For Traffic Accidents

Domestic travel volumes and traffic accident patterns change over time and may be influenced by a variety of factors. This includes population density, road infrastructure, weather conditions, lack of public transportation, and travel behavior. However, some areas in California are historically known to have higher rates of traffic accidents.

So if you travel to these locations during the Thanksgiving holiday season, increase caution and have a plan ready in case you get involved in an accident while on the road.

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles is the most populous county in California and is notorious for heavy traffic during peak times. Areas within Los Angeles, such as downtown LA, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley, have seen a relatively high number of traffic accidents during a busy travel day due to the large population and extensive road networks.

Orange County

Orange County, which includes cities like Anaheim, Santa Ana, and Irvine, is another area in Southern California with a significant number of traffic accidents. This is due, in part, to its dense urban environment and numerous highways.

San Diego County

San Diego, as a major city in California, experiences its fair share of traffic accidents. This is evident on busy highways like Interstate 5 and Interstate 8, which can become clogged with traffic during commute times. Additionally, San Diego’s many suburbs and residential areas experience a high number of car accidents due to the large number of drivers on the roads.

Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area, covering cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, attracts some of the biggest crowds during Thanksgiving. Congestion on bridges, freeways, and the city streets can contribute to accidents in this region.

Riverside County

Riverside County, located in Southern California, also sees an increase in traffic accidents, particularly in areas like Riverside and Moreno Valley.

Sacramento County

The state capital, Sacramento, and its surrounding areas usually experience severe congestion during the holiday, especially on major highways like Interstate 80 and Interstate 5. 

Central Valley

The Central Valley, encompassing cities like Fresno, Bakersfield, and Modesto, boasts a vibrant agricultural landscape and extensive roadways. Unfortunately, accidents are not uncommon in this region, often resulting from excessive speed. 

These are just some of the areas in California that are prone to traffic accidents. 

It’s worth remembering that accident statistics change periodically, and efforts are continuously made to improve road safety. If you want to check the most up-to-date information on traffic accidents in specific areas of California during Thanksgiving, consult the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for recent data and safety initiatives.

What to do If You Need Legal Help After an Accident

If you are the victim of an accident during Thanksgiving in California, your priority should be to ensure the safety of all individuals involved. 

If there are injuries, immediately call 911. In the case of a minor accident with no apparent injuries, move your vehicles to a safe location to prevent further accidents.

It’s advisable to report the accident, especially if there are injuries, significant property damage, or disputes about the fault. 

A police report is crucial when dealing with insurance claims and proving liabilities. Always exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved, making sure to get names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance policy numbers, and vehicle registration details. 

Also, gather contact info from witnesses of the accident. Capture photos/videos of the scene, vehicle damage, and any visible injuries. These visuals are crucial when discussing your case with a lawyer or insurers. Even if injuries seem minor, seek medical attention as some may not be immediately apparent. Documenting them is vital for insurance claims.

If you believe you have a case or are uncertain about your rights, contact a personal injury attorney experienced in traffic accident cases. They can help protect your rights, guide you through the legal process, and assess the strength of your case. 

Always listen to and follow the guidance provided by your attorney. They will advise you on the best course of action, whether it involves negotiation with insurance companies or pursuing a lawsuit. California gives you two years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim. An attorney will ensure that you don’t miss a single deadline.

By following these steps and seeking the assistance of a qualified accident attorney, you can navigate the aftermath of a Thanksgiving traffic accident in California and maximize your chances of obtaining maximum compensation.

Get the Help You Need Today!

Thanksgiving festivities can be quickly disrupted by a road mishap. If you or your family have been injured in a vehicle accident caused by someone else’s actions, you have the right to file a negligence claim and seek compensation. Our team is here to help you navigate the process and ensure you receive the support you deserve.

Ayuda California is your ally. Our team of experienced lawyers, medical specialists, and case managers will help accident victims recover the highest compensation possible. Not only will we handle all the complex paperwork, but we will also ensure that you receive the medical care you need and deserve.

We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t need to pay us a single cent unless we win your case.

Contact us at (844) 8650721 for a free consultation. We are available 24/7!

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