Californians will take to the road this Labor Day weekend by the millions. For many, Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer, and it is the last chance for a road trip. The opens in a new windowNational Safety Council (NSC) estimates there will be up to 466 fatalities on U.S. roads this Labor Day weekend.
There are various reasons for Labor Day car accidents, including:
- An abundance of cars on the road: Many people like to leave town on Labor Day weekend. The more cars on the road, the higher the opportunities for accidents. In addition, traffic tie-ups can lead to frustration and bad tempers, increasing the chance for confrontations.
- Drunk driving: Labor Day often means parties and get-togethers, which often involve alcohol. Unfortunately, some people choose to drink and get behind the wheel, causing accidents that lead to injuries and death.
- Distracted driving: Talking or texting on a cellphone can cause an accident on a holiday road trip. Distraction can also come from loud music, rowdy passengers, eating and drinking, programming a navigation device, and other behaviors.
- Drowsy driving: Holiday travelers may be out of their regular sleep schedules or try to push themselves to make good time on the road. The result is often drowsy driving, impairing the driver’s ability to make good decisions or react quickly.
- Late night and early morning travel: People who want to take full advantage of Labor Day weekend may drive in the early morning or at night.
- Reckless driving: Reckless driving is defined as any driving behavior that is unsafe and unlawful, such as speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, following too closely, and ignoring traffic signs or signals.
- Not wearing seat belts: Drivers who do not buckle up or do not require passengers to buckle up increase their chance of being seriously injured. Even a minor accident can cause significant injury for someone not buckled up.
- Inexperienced drivers: Teenage drivers may be on the road celebrating Labor Day weekend as well. Inexperienced teenage drivers may not know how to navigate crowded holiday roads safely. Unfortunately, alcohol or drugs may also be involved, leading to bad decisions about driving.
What Driving Tips Should I Follow on Labor Day Weekend?
The following are good suggestions for staying safe on Labor Day weekend or any time of the year.
Avoid Peak Driving Times
It is natural for drivers to want to make the most of a holiday weekend. However, leaving right after work on the Friday before Labor Day may not be wise. Everyone will have the same idea, leading to bumper-to-bumper traffic. Consider leaving Saturday morning or other non-peak travel times.
Distracted driving is defined as anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, or mind off of driving. Cellphone use is the top contributor of distracted driving accidents, including talking, texting, snapping photographs, or trying to program or follow a navigation system.
Other distractions can come from loud music, rowdy passengers, crying children, eating and drinking, or even roadside attractions. Drivers should plan how they will minimize distractions and let their passengers know the rules.
Have a Driving Companion
When traveling, especially with children, it is helpful to have another adult who can help with navigation. A travel companion can also help drive, alleviating drowsy driving accidents.
Limit Nighttime Driving
Nighttime driving is more challenging for everyone, especially older people, since visibility is reduced. In addition, there may be more drunk or drugged drivers on the road at night. The chances that drowsy drivers on the road at night is also higher at this time. Drowsy driving is a major cause of accidents.
Every driver must use their seat belt and require passengers to buckle up as well. Infants and young children should also be restrained in the proper type of seat for their age and weight. Seat belts save lives.
Follow the Rules
Reckless driving is a top reason for accidents, injuries, and deaths on the road. Those who do not follow the rules of safe and courteous driving are a menace on the road. From speeding, tailgating, to changing lanes in an unsafe manner, reckless drivers harm themselves and others.
Take Frequent Breaks
Drivers on trips lasting more than two hours should take frequent breaks. Taking the time to stand up and walk around, get fresh air, and make any needed calls or texts while off-road can decrease the chances of drowsy and distracted driving accidents.
Never Drink and Drive
Impaired driving continues to be a primary reason for vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths. Some drivers may not realize they are drunk and will get behind the wheel. If drinking, call for a ride.
Report Erratic Drivers
Any motorist who sees a car traveling erratically should immediately alert the police. Drunk, drugged, or drowsy drivers may:
- Slow down and speed up for no reason.
- Weave out of their lane or off the road.
- Disregard stop signs or lights.
- Drive aggressively or speed.
- Zigzag across the road, or drift in and out of traffic.
- Stop or brake erratically.
- Not respond to traffic signals appropriately.
- Straddle the center or side lane markers.
- Swerve often, trying to keep the car on the road.
- Tailgate other vehicles on the road.
- Drive with headlights off at night.
- Use blinkers and other signals incorrectly.
- Frequently or abruptly hit the brakes.
- Drive into oncoming traffic.
- Drive on the wrong side of the road.
Service the Vehicle
Cars should always be in good condition. A vehicle that is not maintained can contribute to accidents. Worn tires or problems with brakes and steering can be deadly for the driver and others on the road. Before a trip, make sure the tires are properly inflated, oil is changed, gas is full, brakes and steering work correctly, blinkers and other signals are operating, and windows and mirrors are clean.
A little planning can go a long way toward safety. Before setting out, program the navigation device and try to find out where there might be road closures or construction along the way. Plan breaks for eating and resting. Load the car with emergency car repair and first-aid kits, too. Be sure cellphones are charged in case there is a need for an emergency phone call.
What Should I Do in a Labor Day Crash?
Despite the best preparation and most careful driving, accidents can happen. If in a Labor Day weekend crash, follow these tips:
- Call for help. Render minor first-aid to self and passengers. Do not move passengers who may have back or neck injuries.
- If possible, take pictures and videos of the accident scene. Take pictures and videos of vehicular damage, location of vehicles, strewn parts, road and weather conditions, and injuries to self and passengers.
- Talk with bystanders and witnesses. Get their statements, names, and contact information.
- Do not apologize or admit guilt or responsibility. Cooperate with the police, but do not overshare information.
- Seek medical treatment after the accident. Some conditions may take a while to surface.
- Contact a lawyer. An injured party may be able to recover costs for medical bills, lost wages and lost earning capacity, future medical care needs, pain and suffering, and more.
Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyers at ACTS Law Advocate for Those Injured in Labor Day Collisions
Labor Day weekend can be an enjoyable time, but some motorists may drive recklessly. If you become injured by a negligent driver, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at ACTS Law can offer you legal advice. For a free consultation, call us today at 833-ACTS-LAWopens phone dialer or contact us online. Located in Los Angeles and San Diego, we serve clients throughout Southern California.