Who doesn’t love a holiday weekend? They extra day off from work or school makes them great times for road trips, vacations, and spending time with friends and family. But there’s also a major downside to holiday weekends—an increased risk of accidents.
Labor Day weekend is particularly dangerous for people on Tennessee’s roads. In 2018 alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 439 lives were lost in Labor Day weekend crashes nationwide. A big reason for that is an increase in the number of drunk and impaired drivers on the road.
Holiday weekends often mean parties and get-togethers, and that means drinking alcohol. Of the crashes that caused those 439 deaths in 2018, 43% involved drivers who were under the influence of alcohol and 38% involved drivers who were over the legal limit of 0.08% BAC. It’s clear that alcohol is the biggest contributing factor making Labor Day weekend deadlier than others, but there are several steps you can take to reduce your risks.
How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones this Holiday Weekend?
Staying safe over Labor Day weekend means taking a few precautions to protect yourself against the threat of drunk driving and other potential hazards, including:
You don’t have to travel for Labor Day weekend! Many families are already opting to stay at home due to the risks posed by COVID-19. Staying at home and having a family “staycation” can still be a fun and memorable time for you and your loved ones. You can watch movies, grill out, play sports and lawn games, and have movie nights. When you stay at home, your risks of being involved in a drunk driving accident drop to zero!
The less time you spend in the car, the smaller your chances are of being involved in a crash. If you normally drive across the state or even across the country for Labor Day fun, consider staying local this year. You’ll not only save time and money on gas, but you’ll also encounter fewer drivers who might be over the limit.
Drunk driving tends to spike late in the evening and into the early morning hours. Many people begin drinking in the afternoons and early evenings, and they may reach their peak levels of intoxication around midnight. If you’re on the road around that time, you face your highest risk of encountering drunk drivers who could put you and your loved ones at risk.
Avoiding distractions doesn’t just make you less likely to lose control of your vehicle. It also makes you better able to react to the movements of other vehicles. And when it comes to drunk drivers, their movements can be unpredictable and dangerous. With your eyes glued to the road and your hands never leaving the wheel, you’ll be able to slow down, stop, or even swerve out of harm’s way if a drunk and reckless driver crosses your path.
Avoiding drunk drivers is extremely important for your family’s safety this Labor Day weekend, but all of that advice is moot if you are intoxicated when you get behind the wheel! If you attend a party or get-together and plan on drinking, be sure to have a designated driver who abstains from alcohol who will get you and your loved ones home safely. Alternatively, you can use a rideshare service, cab service, or even public transportation for a safe ride home.
Many drivers believe that back roads and less traveled roads are safer than busier roads. But when it comes to the threat of drunk drivers, you’re better off staying on main roads. That’s because more heavily trafficked highways not only have more lanes of travel, but they also typically have better lighting and more police patrols and enforcement, making all drivers safer.
In Tennessee, road work often stops on holiday weekends to account for the increase in traffic. But just because workers aren’t present doesn’t mean the construction will be finished. If your Labor Day travel route will run through a work zone, it’s still important to slow down and be cautious. That’s because many of the same dangers will still be there, including reduced speed limits, narrow lanes, lane closures and shifts, and reduced or non-existent shoulders in the event of an emergency.
For many people, traveling for Labor Day weekend may be the first time they’ve driven a long distance since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Vehicles that sit idle for long periods of time are more prone to mechanical failures than vehicles that are regularly driven and maintained. If your vehicle breaks down mid-trip, don’t try to repair it on the side of the road, especially if it’s a busy highway or interstate. Call a tow truck instead—it’s much safer.
Whether you’re driving to a backyard BBQ or trying to beat traffic to reach your Labor Day vacation destination, it’s important that you aren’t rushed. When you feel like you’re running late, you’re much more likely to make bad decisions behind the wheel. When you leave early and give yourself plenty of time to arrive, you won’t feel rushed, and that means you’ll be more patient behind the wheel, resulting better decisions and less temptation to speed.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol has already announced plans for creating checkpoints over Labor Day weekend to help enforce drunk driving laws throughout the state. While these checkpoints can go a long way towards reducing the risks that drivers and their families face, they don’t eliminate those risks completely.
That’s why it’s so important to be a safe and attentive driver from the moment you start your vehicle until you reach your destination. Not only are you at risk due to other drivers who may be intoxicated, distracted, or negligent, but you also may be at risk due to your own driving behaviors if you aren’t safety-conscious.
We’re Here to Assist People Injured in Labor Day Auto Accidents
At Matt Hardin Law, we want drivers throughout the state to be as safe as possible this upcoming weekend. But we also know that even the safest drivers may be seriously injured in crashes, especially when drunk drivers share the road with them.
Our Nashville auto accident lawyers aggressively fight to get full compensation for people who were injured through no fault of their own. And when it’s drunk drivers who caused their injuries, we believe that they’re owed every penny they lost and then some for things like medical bills and lost wages.
If you or someone you love was hurt in an auto accident caused by a drunk or negligent driver, we want to speak with you. Contact us today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and it’s our goal to help any way we can.