Safe Driving Tips for Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest times to be on the roadways. Drunken driving, speeding, and other careless driving practices can increase your risk of getting injured in an automobile accident. Value Penguin ranked Memorial Day weekend as the most dangerous for drivers because it consistently has the highest number of fatal accidents over a three-day period. Following these safe driving tips for Memorial Day weekend can help protect you and your loved ones.
Avoid alcohol when driving
Holidays bring more drivers to the roadways. Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals the start of the summer traveling season. AAA predicts 39.2 million people will take to the roadways this Memorial Day weekend, an 8.3 percent increase over the number of travelers for the same period last year. New Mexico earned the seventh-highest DUI severity score in the United States last year.
Choose a designated driver when planning to attend an event with alcohol on the menu. If you don’t have that option and have to get behind the wheel, avoid drinking alcohol. It’s not worth the risk to yourself and others on the roadways.
Drunken drivers who cause fatal accidents in New Mexico can face vehicular manslaughter charges. Furthermore, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against them.
Lose the distractions while driving
Distracted driving was the leading cause of all crashes in the state, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation. Fiddling with your car’s stereo, eating while driving, and talking or texting on your mobile phone can distract drivers. Besides increasing your risk for having an accident, texting while driving in New Mexico is against the law.
Here are practical things you can do to avoid distractions behind the wheel:
- Avoid eating or snacking while driving. It can be tempting to multi-task behind the wheel to save time, but it’s not worth the risk. Pull off the road to a safe location before indulging in meals or snacks.
- Limit the number of passengers. This is an especially useful tip for inexperienced drivers, who can find themselves focusing on their friends instead of the roadway. New Mexico prohibits provisional license holders from having more than one passenger unless a licensed driver age 21 or older is in the car with them.
Perform a vehicle safety check
Driving while intoxicated isn’t the only contributing factor for vehicle accidents during Memorial Day weekend. Broken headlights or taillights, dirty windshields, low fluids, and underinflated tires all can wreak havoc on your vehicle.
A tire blow-out is the last thing you want to have happen when traveling on the interstate at 70 mph. Even faulty windshield wipers can obstruct your view, causing you to crash. Before you take to the roadways this Memorial Day weekend – especially if you plan to drive long distances – perform a safety check.
Besides the obvious things to check on your vehicle, it’s also important to make sure it’s not been the subject of any recent recalls from the vehicle manufacturer. Carfax estimates that 53.2 million vehicles currently on the roadways have open recalls. Make sure yours isn’t one of them. Failure to properly maintain your vehicle can be used against you in a personal injury lawsuit.
Slow it down
Everyone has places to be and things to do, but that’s never an excuse to speed. Speeding factors into more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. Make sure you follow the speed limit and pay attention to other drivers. Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for motorcycles, so be particularly mindful of motorcyclists.
Speeding causes more severe injuries to other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians if you have an accident. Driving above the speed limit factors into personal injury lawsuits if you cause an accident. Personal injury attorneys use speed in car crashes to help determine fault, and judges and juries use it to determine compensation for injured parties.
Wear your seatbelt
Buckling up behind the wheel is the law in New Mexico. While wearing a seatbelt won’t prevent vehicle accidents, it can protect you and your passengers from serious injuries or death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all people killed in vehicle crashes weren’t wearing their seatbelts.
Beyond preventing death or serious injury, fastening your seatbelt can be a determining factor in a personal injury lawsuit. If you’re injured in an accident because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, the at-fault party might be able to use that information to reduce any compensation owed.
When safe driving tips don’t prevent accidents
You can be the safest driver on the roadways and still be involved in an accident over the Memorial Day weekend. Safe driving tips only help reduce the likelihood of a crash, not 100 percent prevent the possibility.
If you become injured because of another driver’s carelessness this Memorial Day, you have recourse. Reach out to our offices to schedule a free case evaluation. Scott Atkinson has more than 30 years of experience in personal injury law in New Mexico. He can help secure fair compensation for your injuries.