The holiday season is upon us and for most, it is a joyous time with festivities and fun for all. However, the holiday season unfortunately statistically brings many serious injuries and deaths. Every holiday season, hundreds of lives are lost due to drunk drivers. Nationally, over the past 5 years, an average of 300 people died in drunk driving crashes the week between Christmas and New Year. Alcohol-impaired fatalities make up more than a quarter of all crash fatalities. In 2016, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving-related crashes in December alone.
New Year’s Eve represents a statistically bad time to be on the road. The NHTSB reports that the automobile accident fatality rate is five-times above the daily average on New Year’s Eve in the United States. Younger drivers also face a higher rate of risk of being injured or killed in an auto accident over the holidays. As it relates to alcohol, 40% percent of all drivers under the age of 25 involved in a car accident between mid-December and the New Year are alcohol-related incidents. This coupled with drivers texting can make driving a more hazardous task during the holidays.
To avoid driving accidents during the holidays, be alert, aware and extra vigilant. While all crashes cannot be avoided, if you drive the speed limit, utilize a safety belt, try to anticipate what another driver is going to do (defensive driving), avoid driving while intoxicated and avoid texting or distracted driving, you may avoid a crash that could otherwise seriously injure or kill you.
The other common accident during the holidays is an injury at a retail store. Indeed, despite those who shop online, malls and shopping areas see major increases in pedestrian traffic during the holidays. In some retail industries, there are up to ten to twenty times more shoppers coming through their stores during the holiday season. Statistically speaking, this means that more people will be dropping things on the floor, creating slip or trip and fall hazards. Retail stores are supposed to monitor and ensure that hazards are removed. However, for many retailers, that is not the case. All too often, the hazard only gets cleaned up after a shopper falls upon it.
To avoid fall hazards while you are shopping, there are some simple things to remember. First, never rush. Shopping can be stressful, and, at times, we all want to rush. But, the odds of falling increases exponentially when faced with a hazard and being in a rush. Second, look where you are going. Shop and look at the merchandise, but look at the floor where you are walking. Finally, wear slip-resistant, unworn out shoes. Very often, we just throw on any shoes to go shopping. However, this year, before you leave the home, look at the treads of the shoes. Are they worn out? Would they prevent you from falling if faced with a hazard? If you wear newer sneakers or other rubber-soled deep tread shoes, your odds of having a slip and fall will go down drastically.
Be careful during this holiday season and keep these things in mind. While we can all do the above things to avoid accidents, sometimes accidents cannot be avoided due to the negligence of a third party. When that happens, contact an attorney at Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC. We have the experience and compassion for our clients to help them through accidents that happen during the holidays.
This blog was written by Partner Chad Hastings.