Nothing puts a damper on Thanksgiving festivities like finding out that the holiday is the third deadliest in terms of fatal car accidents in Virginia. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirm that there are expected to be 454 traffic fatalities from 6 p.m. on Wednesday through 5:59 a.m. on Monday – the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period for purposes of analysis. Experts derived these estimates by reviewing motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities for the holiday periods in 2019 and previous years.
While past figures are useful in shedding light on what to expect in 2020, they do not take one massive factor into account: The pandemic resulting from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. You should always trust a Virginia car accident attorney for legal help if you were hurt or lost a loved one, but understanding the implications of COVID-19 on auto crashes may be able to help you avoid one.
Factors That Contribute to Car Accidents Around Thanksgiving: In any given year, there are numerous issues that lead to an increase in both fatal and injury-causing motor vehicle crashes around Thanksgiving. For example:
- Motorists are more likely to celebrate the holiday with cocktails, so collisions involving drunk driving are common.
- Many guests will travel great distances to be with family and friends for Thanksgiving, so there are more vehicles on Virginia roads.
- Motorists are more likely to become fatigued on long road trips, which impacts their driving and reaction time.
- Typical Virginia weather around Thanksgiving can lead to hazardous road conditions, including snow, sleet, fog, and driving rain.
- In most cases, workers have time off from Wednesday evening through Monday morning of Thanksgiving weekend. As a result, there is enormous traffic congestion with motorists all trying to reach their destination at the same time.
How COVID-19 May Impact Thanksgiving Travel: The holiday might be a dangerous time to be on the road any year, but COVID-19 could have an impact on auto collisions over Thanksgiving 2020. Personal and professional lives have undergone drastic changes in recent months, and it remains to be seen how these issues will carry over in November. Any of the following may affect the frequency of car accidents:
- Fewer travelers may opt to fly for Thanksgiving, fearing the potential for COVID-19 to spread within an aircraft cabin. People who usually travel by air may be sharing the road this year, increasing traffic congestion.
- Though traffic has been lighter in general over the last few months, empty roadways seem to inspire motorists to speed. The result is a rise in the number of fatal auto crashes.
- Depression has taken its toll during the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Thanksgiving holiday may not be a happy occasion for everyone. Those with mental illness may abuse alcohol or controlled substances before getting behind the wheel.
Your Rights as the Victim of a Virginia Auto Crash: Regardless of whether a car accident is the result of COVID-19 or other factors, it is a comfort to know that there are legal remedies available under Virginia law. If you can prove that the responsible motorist failed to exercise reasonable care when driving, you may be entitled to recover for such losses as medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other monetary damages.
Discuss Your Legal Options with a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
If you were involved in an auto collision in the Tidewater and Middle Peninsula area or elsewhere in Virginia, please contact the Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C. right away. We can set up a consultation at our offices in Gloucester, Hampton, or Newport News, VA, where our skilled vehicle crash attorneys can review your circumstances and advise you on your rights.