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Do roadway accidents increase during the holiday season?

Safe driving becomes especially difficult during the holiday season. With the combination of navigating wintery roadways, the limited daylight hours and traveling to unfamiliar locations, people face driving challenges.

More car crash fatalities occur during the holidays compared to non-holiday periods, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2017, 119 car accidents resulted in fatalities during the holidays compared to 102 fatal motor-vehicle crashes during the off-season.

What are the deadliest holidays for motorists?

Americans celebrate a lot of holidays year-round, but between the fall and winter months, a myriad of cultural and religious celebrations occur. According to the 2022 AutoInsurance.org report, some of the deadliest holidays to drive are:

  • Halloween – 396 average fatal crashes
  • Veterans Day – 390 average fatal crashes
  • Thanksgiving – 391 average fatal crashes

Vehicle crashes become so common during the holiday season because of impaired driving due to celebratory drinking, fatigue, poor weather conditions, an influx of traffic, neglected car maintenance and overly-stressed drivers.

Which holidays are the safest to drive?

Holidays like New Year’s Eve, Christmas, President’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day are surprisingly among the safest holidays to drive. This is due to motorists becoming used to driving in inclement weather, so they navigate their vehicles more carefully and also because of increased patrolling by law enforcement. Drivers who might otherwise drive under the influence avoid doing so around these holidays as they realize there is more surveillance of the roads.

Motorists should exercise extra caution during the upcoming season while they travel to and from their holiday celebrations. They should implement safety measures such as reducing speed, driving sober, getting adequate sleep and performing regular vehicle maintenance.