Do Car Accidents Spike Around the Holidays?

When you’re stuck in traffic this holiday season trying to get to a family or friend’s house to celebrate, you might wonder whether accidents rise this time of year. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Safety Council (NSC), the holidays are not the worst months of the year for car accidents. However, the holidays appear responsible for an outsized number of accidents that occur in November and December.

Analyzing the data shows that car accidents steadily rise in the spring as days get warmer until they peak between August and October. That trend suggests that accidents should decrease steadily in the fall and winter, but that’s not what happens. Instead, accident rates fall slightly in November but remain steady or even increase in December. Then there is a sharp drop in accidents from January through March as people stay home. 

This suggests that the holidays encourage people to drive more often and recklessly than they would in the winter months. Here’s why accidents remain so high around the winter holidays and what you can do if you’ve been harmed in a holiday car crash. 

Why Do Car Crashes Get Worse Around the Holidays?

The dip in accidents from January to March suggests that people stay off the roads or drive more carefully in cooler weather. So, what causes holiday car accidents? Several factors lead to accident rates remaining high:

Heavier Traffic

Traffic is terrible around major holidays. This is such a well-known phenomenon that there are multiple holiday songs about the experience of being stuck in a traffic jam on the way home to celebrate. No matter why more cars are on the road, there is a strong correlation between congestion levels and accidents

Basically, when there are more drivers on the road, accidents are more likely. More bad drivers are making erratic decisions that could lead to holiday crashes in Florida. Furthermore, there’s less room to maneuver or drive defensively, so good drivers don’t have as many opportunities to avoid potential Christmas car accidents.

Stressed Drivers

Feeling stressed makes it harder to focus. This is true at work, at home, or on the road. When you’re stressed, it’s harder to pay attention to road conditions and react to other drivers’ behavior safely. Studies suggest that all kinds of stress, including mental health struggles, work anxiety, and difficult life events, can reduce drivers’ performance and safety

This can be particularly problematic around the holidays. Even people who enjoy celebrating can still find them stressful. If family arguments pop up about where the holidays should be spent or how people celebrate, December can quickly become one of the most stressful months of the year. As a result, drivers are more likely to make mistakes and risk accidents.

Delayed Car Maintenance

Traveling, hosting parties, and buying gifts for loved ones all cost money. Many people’s budgets feel the strain in December as they try to make the season merry. That means they may put off things like routine car maintenance until the new year when annual bonuses or tax returns arrive. 

This makes the roads more dangerous. Poorly maintained cars are more likely to suffer critical failures at the worst possible moment. Failing brakes, bald tires, and overheating engines can all lead to accidents.

Worse Weather

Across the country, the weather gets worse in the winter. While Florida doesn’t face the ice and snow like northern climates, the winter is still windier, foggier, and colder than the rest of the year. The days also get shorter, leaving drivers in the dark for longer. 

In combination, these factors can make it harder to drive safely. Wind gusts can make it hard to retain control of a vehicle. Meanwhile, driving in fog or at night significantly reduces visibility, making it harder to see hazards or avoid other drivers. 

Drunk Driving

Holiday parties give many people an excuse to overindulge. The days before and after major holidays often see higher rates of drunk driving accidents as people decide to drive themselves home after one too many. 

Driving drunk is never acceptable, but it poses additional risks during the holiday season. Other factors, such as greater traffic congestion and worse weather, compound the difficulty of driving safely. As a result, intoxicated motorists are significantly more likely to cause holiday drunk driving accidents.

Holding Reckless Drivers Accountable for Christmas Car Accidents

You may have already suffered from a holiday crash in Florida. If so, you don’t have to let it ruin your holidays. Here’s what you can do to make sure the reckless driver who hurt you is held accountable for their actions, and their insurance covers your injuries:

  • Document the scene of the accident to clearly show whether or not any outside factors may have led to the crash.
  • Get medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible to avoid the risk of them getting worse.
  • Notify the insurance company of the accident, but don’t talk to adjusters immediately.
  • Instead, consult with a qualified car accident lawyer to ensure your claim is filed correctly.

Get Help Pursuing Compensation After Holiday Accidents

Car crash injuries are painful and can make your Christmas and New Year’s a little less bright. However, you can still hold the person responsible for your crash accountable. With expert legal help from the Law Offices of Gomez & Gomez, you can pursue compensation for your losses. 

We have years of experience representing car accident victims in Miami-Dade County and the surrounding areas. We use our knowledge and skills to act as strong advocates for our clients, whether that means negotiating with insurance companies or taking your case to court. Learn how we can help you take action by scheduling your free consultation today.