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Car accidents don’t take days off. In fact, holidays can be particularly dangerous to motorists. More people are off work and on the roads, traveling to parties or family get-togethers. People are also more likely to drink as part of their merry-making, causing an increase in drunk-driving accidents.
Accidents aren’t the only insurance claims that happen on the holidays. Thefts are also a major concern during holidays, especially when car owners park their vehicles in large public places for major events. Weather is also a contributing factor in auto claims; snow, ice, wind and hail can all cause damage directly or indirectly to vehicles.
Worst Holidays for Motorists
New Years Day
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, New Year’s Day is the worst day of the year for auto theft. There were 2,347 thefts across the country that day in 2010. New Year’s Day is a particularly dangerous day for drivers, with an average of 132 crashes each year.
New Year’s is also a dangerous time for pedestrians, with an average of 22 pedestrians killed each year. A combination of drunk driving, icy winter weather and parties outside the home contribute to the dangerous nature of this holiday.
Fourth of July
The second most dangerous holiday of the year, the Fourth of July has an average of 131 crashes. Coupled with the third of July, which averages around 126 crashes, these two days provide one of the most dangerous holiday periods of the year.
The Fourth of July kicks off the first of many dangerous summer days. As people enjoy the warm weather by vacationing and having barbecues and other gatherings, more people hit the streets and accidents go up.
You might not expect Thanksgiving day to be dangerous, but it’s been one of the deadliest holidays of the year for many years. A combination of drinking, congested roads and sleepy drivers all make Thanksgiving dangerous, and the long weekend spreads the risk over several days.
Though not as common as other times in the year, Thanksgiving does have a fairly high incidence of auto theft. Additionally, the holiday falls squarely in the middle of deer season, and animal-related crashes reach their peak at the end of November so sleepy holidaymakers may collide with deer on otherwise empty country roads.
For many people, Halloween provides a chance to throw raucous parties; for others, it’s a time to take children to activities or Trick-or-Treating. Either way, it poses a risk to car owners. Drunk driving accidents are a major threat, especially in college towns and other places where party-goers gather, and vandalism claims are more prevalent on Halloween due to pranksters.
Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, especially children. Roughly four times as many children are killed as pedestrians on Halloween as any other night of the year.
Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day pose a general threat to drivers due to drunk driving and icy road conditions. With many people trying to save money, fewer people are flying to their holiday destinations, making them more likely to drive on already-congested roads.
A surprising number of thefts also occur on Christmas, with 1,928 thefts on Christmas Eve and an additional 1,361 on Christmas Day of 2010. Although thefts have decreased slightly in the past few years, this holiday is still a major threat from thieves. You should be especially careful of car break-ins during the weeks leading up to the holiday; desperate thieves often break into cars in mall parking lots and other places to steal expensive gifts.
Always Stay Alert and Pay More Attention Holiday Driving
Although holidays are a time for families and merrymaking, they can be very dangerous to drivers and pedestrians. It’s always important to drive safely, but it’s especially important to keep an eye on the road during holidays when so any other drivers may not be looking out for your best interests.
Always be sure to have a designated driver available for yourself or any guests you may have at your home for a party. You should also keep an eye on weather before driving. If you cannot get a safe ride home, the weather is severe or traffic is too congested, don’t risk driving. Even if you have to stay the night on a cousin’s couch or come into work a little later the next day, it’s not worth risking your safety.
Of course, the best way to prevent this situation is with a little planning; by making alternate transportation arrangements early and building a contingency plan for weather and traffic, you can be sure to have a safe and enjoyable holiday.
If an accident, theft or vandalism does happen during the holiday, be sure to file the claim as soon as possible. Most insurance companies have a toll-free claims hotline that can be called at any time. Many people do not realize that the claims department is open and accepting calls during the holiday, so you may be able to get your claim filed early and beat the rush by calling as soon as it happens. Otherwise you can expect to wait on hold for a little while the next day as all of the other people who were in holiday accidents call in their claims.