Although it might seem like the holiday season begins earlier and earlier every year, it is officially recognized as the span from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve. This is the stretch of the year when California's highways become full to capacity with parents, children, cousins, grandparents, and friends traveling through the state to be together for the holidays. These people are often tired, potentially unfamiliar with their surroundings, and could be intoxicated.
Car accidents on California highways surge during these months because of these factors. By understanding and preparing yourself for these risks, you can significantly reduce your chance or being involved in a car accident this holiday season.
DUI Risks During the Holiday Season
Most of the car accidents that occur during the holiday season involve alcohol. In 2012, more than 10,000 people died in alcohol-related car accidents on American roadways. Every year, 200,000 DUI arrests are made in California.
In California, any individual charged with driving while intoxicated faces jail time, fines, a driver's license suspension, and having an ignition interlock device installed on his or her car. The penalties for a driver's second and subsequent DUI arrests are harsher than those for his or her first. Always be aware of how much you have drank, and if you are unsure of whether or not you should drive, please refrain. It is always better to err on the side of caution with alcohol and driving.
Ways to Avoid an Accident on California Highways During the Holiday Season
Although you can never completely prevent a car accident from happening, there are many ways you can lower your chances of being involved in one. The following tips can help you avoid car accidents and keep yourself and your family safe.
- Drive during daylight hours. Far more car accidents occur after dark than during the daytime due to lower visibility and a greater likelihood of intoxicated drivers on the road.
- Do not drive above the speed limit. Speeding can be a contributing factor to a car accident. Driving much slower than the posted speed limit can be dangerous, too. Be sure to drive at or slightly below the speed limit and keep pace with the other drivers on the road.
- Consider the weather and adjust your driving accordingly. Sleet, rain, and snow can all affect the conditions you might face on the road.
- Stop for a rest when you need one. If you are feeling tired or dizzy, pull off the road at the next opportunity to safely do so and take a short break from driving. Maintaining concentration is key to avoiding an accident and these short breaks can help you stay alert.
- Do not text message or talk on a hand held phone while driving.
- Do not drink and drive.
- Always be aware of your car’s blind spots.
- Check your tire pressure and be sure that your tires are properly inflated before you begin to drive.
- Look both ways before entering an intersection. Drivers sometimes ignore stop signs and red lights and can cause accidents by doing so.
- Yield to pedestrians and emergency vehicles.
- Maintain a safe following distance behind other cars.
What to Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident
Do not panic. If you are involved in a car accident, take the following steps to ensure a smooth, easy resolution.
- Make sure everybody involved in the accident is okay. This means all passengers in your car and other parties involved in the accident. Seek medical attention immediately for any individual who is injured.
- Call the police. The police will fill out an accident report, which you will need to show to your insurance provider if you want to recover damages.
- Document all damage to your car.
- Share your insurance information with the other parties and take down their names, insurance providers, policy numbers, and contact information.
- Get in touch with a personal injury attorney to learn more about seeking monetary compensation for your injuries.
If you are hurt in an accident on a California highway this holiday season, you can seek compensation for the expenses related to your injury. Seek help from an experienced personal injury attorney as quickly as possible. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the injury. That means that you only have two years following your accident to file your claim. After those two years, you no longer have grounds to seek monetary compensation.
Contact a San Diego Personal Injury Attorney
At Martinez & Schill LLP, we are here to advocate for you. Contact our firm to discuss your needs as a car accident victim and learn more about your options for monetary compensation. The San Diego car accident attorneys at our firm understand California personal injury law and will use their knowledge to help you get the money you deserve. Do not wait to make that call–contact Martinez & Schill LLP at (619) 512-5995 today.