On the Road for the Holiday

The Holidays. The time of year when families come together to celebrate, reminisce, eat good food, drink and be generally merry. The prime holiday traveling season, stretching from Thanksgiving in November until after the New Year, can also bring an increased risk of traffic accidents, many potentially deadly. According to the Georgia State Patrol, 20 people were killed in Thanksgiving travel related crashes alone, and an additional 280 people were injured. Troopers also made 273 arrests of motorists driving under the influence.

These figures indicate that the dangerous, and sadly typical, holiday traveling season is upon us. While there is little individual motorists can do to avoid the risky behaviors of their fellow drivers, including using phones and apps on phones, there are precautions and preparations you can make to protect your rights in the event you are involved in an auto related accident this season.

Document Your Accident

The City of Atlanta Police Department has complied a car accident checklist of actions you should take if you are involved in a car accident this holiday season. Foremost among the items is contacting your local law enforcement agency, and then remaining on the scene for the police to arrive. This helps create a legal record of the accident via the police report while it is fresh in your mind. Additionally, photos taken at the scene can help in the event of a dispute regarding the facts of the accident.

Safer Holiday Driving Alternatives

While we all like to think of ourselves as safe drivers, car accidents aren’t always the other driver’s fault. In addition to the increased traffic on the roads, holidays are a time for family and work gatherings which often involve alcohol. In 2016, Georgia has seen a 22% increase in auto accident deaths, many of which can be attributed to alcohol and/or an increase of the number of vehicles traveling our busy highways. Drunk driving can also carry severe legal and financial penalties, including fines and jail sentences, even for first-time offenders. And as trial attorneys who represent victims of DUI car accidents in civil court, we pursue punitive damages in court against DUI drivers.

If you are planning to imbibe in a beverage or two this holiday season, consider one of the driving alternatives to get you home safe and sound. Appointing one member of your group the designated driver is the safest plan; restaurants, bars and clubs often offer free food, non-alcoholic beverages or other perks to the person in a party performing this beneficial service. Calling a taxi is also a good option and ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft often offer discounts or even free rides this time of year to encourage inebriated drivers to stay off the roads. Any of these make excellent alternatives to a DUI charge or the potential effects on the physical safety of yourself or others sharing the road.

Enjoy the holiday season, but be smart and safe!

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