Drivers are warned, be careful on our roadways over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, roadway travel is expected to increase by nearly 5 percent this year. In 2010, there were about 40 million Americans who traveled during the holiday period, according to the American Automobile Association. Roughly 43 million are expected to travel during the holiday weekend this year, despite the higher gas prices. The increase in travel will be increasing your risks for a serious car accident in Chicago and elsewhere.
In 2010, the average gas price during this time was $2.88 per gallon. This year’s holiday average is $3.39 per gallon — but that’s not stopping travelers. Officials say that many Americans celebrated the Labor Day and Independence Day holidays at home because of the struggling economy. The travel on Memorial Day weekend remained the same from 2010 to 2011. According to Bill Sutherland, the vice president of AAA Travel Services, drivers have been staying home for recent holidays but are ready to throw their financial concerns to the wind for Turkey Day.
Chicago car accident attorneys at our office know that residents use the holiday season to venture out to visit friends and family. Unfortunately, since most residents have the same idea, our roads get crowded and risks for accidents increase significantly. Without taking the proper precautions, drivers can find themselves at greater risk. It’s important for you to plan out every step of your trip to avoid any mishaps or accidents and to be alert and cautious on our roadways.
“Driving AAA’s projected increase in the number of Thanksgiving travelers is pent-up demand from Americans who may have foregone holiday travel the last three years,” said Sutherland.
There’s no question that most travelers will be driving over the holiday weekend, but forecasts for air travel are questionable. AAA predicts that air travel will increase by nearly 2 percent from 2010. But the Air Transport Association of America says there’s going to be a 2 percent decrease.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the Thanksgiving Day holiday period will start on Wednesday the 23rd at 6:00 p.m. and will end on Sunday the 27th at 11:59 p.m. The NSC estimates that this 4.25 day holiday period will produce more than 430 traffic fatalities — the estimated range is from 370 to about 510 deaths. The Council also estimated about 43,500 injuries in which a medical professional was consulted during this same time.
This year’s fatality count is nearly 20 percent lower than the average of the last six year’s actual fatalities.
Recent year’s estimates and fatality number over the Thanksgiving Day holiday period:
-2004: 556 estimate. 556 actual.
-2005: 610 estimate. 605 actual.
-2006: 555 estimate. 623 actual.
-2007: 564 estimate. 542 actual.
-2008: 479 estimate. 484 actual.
-2009: 447 estimate. 401 actual.
Seat belts are 45 percent effective in preventing death among front-seat occupants. From this information, the NSC estimates that more than 150 lives can be saved over the holiday weekend if everyone wears a seat belt.
The average death rate for this holiday period in comparison to similar non-holiday weekends is more than 10 percent higher. Drivers are asked to travel safely and cautiously.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
Crowded highways expected for Thanksgiving, by Aaron Smith, CNN
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