The last ‘hoorah’ before summer officially ends can be more dangerous than you think. With one in eight Maryland residents gearing up to travel this Labor Day weekend, reckless behaviors and out-of-control parties can quickly turn a good time into a nightmare.
Labor Day…The Last Danger of Summer
Labor Day is one of the six deadliest holidays of the year, with most of the risk lies in the travel. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that over 400 people die every Labor Day weekend alone just from vehicle accidents. In addition, more than 40,000 non-fatal injuries are sustained on this holiday- what makes Labor Day so dangerous?
Highly Congested Roads
AAA estimates that at least 35.5 million Americans are going to be traveling over Labor Day weekend and 86% of these travelers will be on the roads. They may not be going any further than an hour or two from home, but any time spent on congested holiday roads is the perfect recipe for accidents.
Types of dangerous driving behaviors that tend to increase on the roads over Labor Day include:
- Aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Fender benders
- Unsafe lane changes
- Night driving
- Reckless driving
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Wrong way driving
- Improper turns
- Road rage
- Drowsy driving
All of these behaviors can cause severe and fatal car accidents, particularly when there are thousands of surrounding cars that can be affected by just one driver’s mistake.
Drunk Driving Upticks
Alcohol consumption always tends to increase over the summer months. Summer parties are the perfect opportunity for people to let loose and have a few drinks, as well as an opportunity for most underage drinkers to try their first taste. Unfortunately, people are also far more likely to jump behind the driver’s seat of a car after a summer party, especially on a holiday weekend. At least 40% of traffic accidents on Labor Day are caused by drunk drivers and 23% of the accidents involve drivers with blood alcohol contents of 0.15 and over- well above the legal limit.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports drivers who consume alcohol before driving can suffer from impairments in:
- visual acuity
- reaction time
Drunk drivers are also far more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel, losing complete control of their vehicles and putting everyone on the road in imminent danger. Adding any of these deficits to a driver who is operating their vehicle on a busy holiday weekend is extremely risky with far more chances of causing an accident or taking a life.
Fatigued Driving Upticks
Driving fatigued can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. According to the NSC, at least 50% of adult drivers admit to getting behind the wheel when feeling too tired to drive and this number always rises around a holiday. Vacationers who are returning home from Labor Day trips often leave at the very last possible minute not to miss out on any holiday fun. Drivers who are exhausted from a long weekend behind the wheel can face the same dangerous impairments as drunk drivers. In fact, 20% of adult drivers admit to falling asleep behind the wheel and 40% of these individuals reported this happening more than once!
More Teen Drivers
Teen drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident than adult drivers and during the summer months, they are out in swarms. Labor Day is a part of the ‘100 Deadliest Days’, a dangerous trend where fatal vehicle crashes skyrocket between Memorial Day and Labor Day. AAA reports that deadly crashes involving teens increase during this time for a number of reasons, including:
- Increased distractions
- Not buckling up
- Drinking and driving
- General immaturely behind the wheel
- Lack of supervision
Teens who are out celebrating the last free weekend before school begins are highly susceptible to making poor decisions. Multiple nights of late partying, taking a chance of driving after ‘feeling sober enough’, and overall inexperience on the road are all common reasons for why teens may cause more accidents this holiday weekend.
Three and Four Day Weekends
Everyone loves a long weekend, but they can actually be bad for your health. Accidents are more likely to happen over a long weekend because people have more time to relax and party. Vacationers who are looking to let loose are more likely to overdo it on a three/four day weekend without the immediate stress of returning to work. Drivers celebrating summer holidays are notorious for rushing back on Monday nights in an effort to get back home in time to prepare for work on Tuesday- the more people rush, the more chances for accidents to occur.
How To Stay Safe on Roads in MD
Labor Day dangers on the road shouldn’t keep you from your travel plans. You can’t predict every hazard that could come your way but you can prepare yourself for the possibility of encountering a slew of reckless drivers. Knowing the signs of reckless driving behaviors and monitoring your own driving habits are two of the most effective ways to protect you and your family this holiday when traveling.
If you encounter a driver on the road doing any of the following behaviors according to driversed.com, you should avoid them at all costs as they could be impaired and dangerous:
- Erratically changing lanes, speed, or driving too slow
- Running over curbs
- Going the wrong way
- Weaving or straddling two lanes
- Stopping short of a stop sign/stop light or running the stop sign/stop light
- Failing to use a turn signal
- Not using headlights when driving at night
For protection against reckless drivers, Safety 1st Driving School recommends following these Labor Day driving tips to stay safe on the roads:
- Wear your seatbelt: The NSC estimates a total of 163 lives could be saved over Labor Day weekend just by wearing your seatbelt. Buckle up every time you get into your vehicle and make sure all passengers are properly secured before you drive.
- Don’t drink and drive: If you have a drink at a party, don’t take the risk of getting behind the wheel. Designate a sober driver before heading anywhere or stay someplace safe until you are sober enough to drive home.
- Stay Alert: Don’t let your cellphone and passengers distract you from the dangers on the road. Keep distractions inside the car such as music, noise, and conversations low so you pay attention to the many hazards already on the road.
- Be Patient: Try not to mimic the reckless and aggressive driving behaviors of the motorist around you. Holiday congestion can bring out the worst in drivers and adding to the problem by pulling additional reckless maneuvers only increases the risk to you and others.
MD Cops Are Out
Maryland police departments throughout the state are fed up with the increase in traffic accidents over Labor Day weekend. To help keep drivers on track with driving safe, multiple checkpoints will be up and running to prevent drunk and distracted drivers from risking the lives of innocent motorists, passengers, and pedestrians on the road.
You and your family have the right to safe travel over the summer holiday. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, D’Amore Law is on your side. Our expert personal injury attorneys will provide a free case evaluation to discuss all your options for seeking justice and the financial compensation you deserve to cover all damages sustained.