Thanksgiving Driving Hazards: Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyers at Freeman & Freeman Share Safety Tips

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Between Sunday November 24 and Sunday December 1, millions of drivers will be on the nation's highways. Though most trips will take place without incident, road trips for Thanksgiving pose particular risks.

While the reasons for Thanksgiving car accidents are varied, there is no doubt that Thanksgiving is a dangerous time for drivers

Attorneys Stan Freeman and Steve Freeman of the Los Angeles-based Freeman & Freeman Law Firm have been practicing personal injury law for the last several decades and know that the increased traffic on the roads leads to an increased risk of car accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday. Because of their long experience and concern for public safety, the attorneys are issuing these travel safety tips for holiday drivers.    

The first safety tip is related to weather. Throughout the country, the fall season will be giving way to winter and, Stan Freeman says, "roads will become icy and conditions will be dangerous. In some ways, people in southern California may be more prone to crashing on slick roads because our weather is typically good. We forget that ice on our roads is a real possibility this time of year especially over bridges or outlying roads. While people in Iowa and Vermont, for instance, may anticipate the cold weather and see snow on the ground, in southern California, drivers must remind themselves of the weather change and simply slow down especially early in the morning and at night."

Steve Freeman adds the second safety tip: never drink and drive. "In addition to weather issues, drivers throughout LA and the rest of the nation often visit their relatives for a few hours and then return home. They may drive an hour or two for Thanksgiving and go home that same night. Many times we see drunk-driving accidents on Thanksgiving night because of this. No one should ever drink and drive but we think it is particularly important to remind people of this on holidays."

Even when alcohol is not involved, Stan Freeman says, that a third tip is to beware of fatigue: "Many drivers will be heavily fatigued from long drives. Whether in the days before Thanksgiving, on Thanksgiving night or in the days after, many drivers will try to 'push their limits' in order to 'make good time.' But this is a recipe for disaster. When in doubt, drivers should pull over to a safe location to rest or stay overnight at their current location. Too many people are killed or catastrophically injured because someone falls asleep at the wheel." While the reasons for Thanksgiving car accidents are varied, there is no doubt that Thanksgiving is a dangerous time for drivers.

In November of 2012, Larry Copeland of USA Today reported in "Thanksgiving week one of the deadliest on the highway" that 431 people were killed nationally on Thanksgiving in 2010. This means that, on that one day, more were killed on Thanksgiving than on any of these other three federal holidays: Veterans Day, Independence Day, and New Year’s Day. And that year was not an anomaly. For a variety of reasons, Thanksgiving has consistently been the deadliest federal holiday for drivers. The reason for this is unclear. However, lawyers at Freeman & Freeman say that much of the reasoning comes down to common sense: more cars on the road means more risks.

"Many drivers will be tired, some will be drunk, some will be distracted by unfamiliar surroundings as they seek their destinations. Many people will be in a hurry. Of course, unfortunately, many will be texting or looking at maps on their phones," Steve Freeman says. "This all can add up to more crashes that could have been prevented with just a bit of caution. Our hope is that education about the risks can make the roads safer."

"And," Stan Freeman says, "we haven't even mentioned the busy frenzy of Black Friday and related events. Streets and freeways surrounding malls and shopping centers will be clogged with frustrated and anxious drivers. This can indirectly lead to car crashes. Everyone should remember that driving safely should always be the priority. Always."

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Brett Watson
since: 10/2011
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Freeman & Freeman, LLP
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