Everyone knows it pays to be extra careful when driving over the holidays. The combination of winter weather, heavier traffic due to holiday travel, negligent drivers and the chance that some drivers enjoyed their holiday parties a bit too much can all lead to dangerous driving conditions.
With Thanksgiving on the books and two more major holidays down the road, it is helpful to take a look at the numbers and see whether you really are more likely to experience a crash during this time of year.
Do more crashes occur over holiday breaks?
Based on data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the month with the highest number of crashes in 2018 was actually January. However, the percentage of crashes in each month was very close, mostly averaging around 8%. It looks like months that include major holidays do not have a significantly higher crash count.
Aside from the number of crashes, the report also tracked the number of fatalities in a motor vehicle accident. Here, the months of September and October had the largest share. About 20% of all motor vehicle accident deaths occurred in these autumn months.
Which holiday has the highest number of crashes?
A crash may not be more likely in a holiday month than another month. But crashes still cluster around these travel-heavy days.
In 2018, Thanksgiving had a much higher total for motor vehicle crashes than the other holidays included in the report. Over 4,000 crashes happened during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day accounted for almost 2,000 crashes, while Christmas trailed behind with fewer than 1,000 crashes.
In part, the lower number of crashes at Christmas in 2018 may have been because Christmas did not occur over a weekend. Saturday and Sunday are by far the more dangerous days to drive, with almost 35% of traffic fatalities.
Overall, the timing of your drive does not seem to contribute to your chances of an accident. Buckle up, obey all posted speed limits and drive sober for merry times for everyone this holiday season.