Last year, the number of fatalities from motor vehicle crashes across the country decreased by close to 1,000. However, in Florida, there were still 3,174 fatalities and 254,873 injuries from crashes, and in Miami-Dade County alone, 31,287 people were injured in car accidents.
The holiday season is especially dangerous for Miami drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Unfortunately, more tourists, more people traveling across town or across the state, and more opportunities to party mean more people on the roads and more car accident injuries and fatalities.
Although you can’t keep people off the roads or prevent all accidents, there are several things you can do personally to increase your safety while driving. In this blog post, we’ll cover five safety tips for avoiding automobile accidents in Miami during this holiday season.
Buckle Up for the Holidays
Research shows that buckling your seatbelt is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from being injured when you’re in an automobile. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) calls seatbelts “the best defense” against dangerous drivers because they help keep you from being ejected from a vehicle or thrown forcefully into a rapidly opening air bag and getting seriously injured or killed during a crash.
Research shows that If you’re riding in the front seat of a car, wearing your seat belt decreases your risk of serious injury by 50% and your risk of a fatal injury by 45%. If you’re in a light truck with your seat belt properly buckled, your risk of critical injury is reduced by 65% and your risk of fatal injury is reduced by 50%. According to NHTSA data, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people in 2017 alone, if they had been wearing seat belts.
So no matter where you’re going or whom you’re with, remember to buckle your seatbelt securely every time you’re in a motor vehicle this holiday season and in the future.
Don’t Get Behind the Wheel if You’ve Been Drinking or Using Any Drugs That Impair Your Ability to Drive Safely
We all know that drunk driving is dangerous and illegal, but assessing the immediate danger of driving after having had one or more drinks at a holiday party can be difficult. Therefore, having a designated driver or scheduling a ride with a ride sharing company beforehand is a good idea.
Every day in the U.S., approximately 30 people die in drunk-driving accidents. You don’t want to be one of the day’s 30, so don’t leave your safety to chance or get into a vehicle with somebody else who has been drinking, no matter how much they insist they are capable of driving safely.
Also be aware that some over-the-counter medication, as well as marijuana and other illegal drugs, can affect your judgment, coordination, and reaction time and, therefore, impair your ability to drive safely. Therefore, if you take any drug that slows you down or makes you feel different, do not drive, and don’t get into a vehicle with a driver who has taken medication or a drug that alters their ability to think clearly and react quickly.
Stay Away from Your Phone and Other Devices While Driving
Distracted driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving because when you’re distracted, whether from texting, answering or talking on the phone, or fiddling with your seat position, climate controls, sound system, or navigation system, you’re not paying enough attention to what you or other drivers are doing to be driving safely. Operating a vehicle requires your full attention, so engaging in any activity other than driving increases your risk of having an accident.
This holiday season, remember that nothing is more important than your safety and the safety of others on the road. Text messaging, checking Facebook, and engaging in other extraneous activities can wait until you are done driving.
Avoid Speeding and Speeders
The holiday season is a busy, often stressful time filled with all kinds of extra activities. It’s also a time when traffic is heavy, and trying to get from place to place as quickly as possible seems necessary. Factors such as traffic congestion and running late for appointments and other activities make speeding more prevalent during this season.
Unfortunately, speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors endanger not only you and your passengers, but everyone else on the road around you. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities involve speeding, so please try to stay calm and drive within the speed limit during these hectic times.
You can also use defensive driving tactics to try to avoid collisions when other people are driving too fast. First, try to give speeding drivers a lot of space, since they can lose control of their vehicles more easily than other drivers. If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass or is tailgating you, move to the right lane and let them pass as soon as possible. By all means, don’t engage in risky driving to get even or compete with an aggressive driver. The consequences just aren’t worth it.
Don’t Drive When You’re Sleep Deprived
The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be exciting but exhausting, especially when it comes to travelling. Therefore, traffic safety experts warn us to be especially aware of when we are too drowsy to safely get behind the wheel.
Drowsiness and fatigue can impair cognition and performance and lead to serious crashes, so try to get adequate sleep throughout the season, but especially before you head out on a long family car trip. If you are taking a road trip this year, avoid drinking any alcohol beforehand, drive during the day rather than during the middle of the night, and take a break from driving and rest if you start getting sleepy.
Be Vigilant and Stay Safe This Holiday Season
During the 2019 holiday season, we hope you and your family will be vigilant in following the safety tips included in this blog post when traveling in Miami, throughout Florida, or out of state. We recognize, however, that even the safest driver can be involved in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence.
If you or a family member are injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, please call the Miami Car Accident Attorneys of Boyers Law Group at 800.545.9100 to discuss your case and receive a free consultation. We’ve helped hundreds of Florida families receive substantial compensation for their accident-related damages and want to help you recover the full amount you deserve.
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. (2019). Traffic Crash Reports: Crash Dashboard.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019). Buckle up and don’t drive impaired this Thanksgiving holiday.
U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2019, 23 Oct.). Traffic deaths decreased in 2018, but still 36,560 people died.