Why Do Car Accidents Increase Over Thanksgiving Break?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with friends and family to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. However, it is also one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year. People who did not see friends and family last Thanksgiving due to COVID-19 travel restrictions are very much looking forward to the holiday this year, despite having to deal with heavy traffic.

Each year, approximately 50 million people travel for Thanksgiving, mostly by car. The increased number of motorists on the roads, combined with a number of other factors, cause car accidents to spike during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

What Are the Main Causes of Thanksgiving Car Accidents?

More motorists on the road means more accidents. However, that is just one of the factors that causes a spike in car accidents over Thanksgiving break. The following are some of the most common causes of car accidents on and around Thanksgiving:

  • Increased traffic: Millions of Americans will be traveling by car this Thanksgiving. Some people only have to drive a few miles to get to the destination, while others may have to travel several hundred miles. Either way, there are significantly more cars on the roadways, which leads to more accidents.
  • Inclement weather: As fall progresses, the weather can be unpredictable. It can also change quickly from rain to freezing rain and snow. Black ice is also extremely dangerous because motorists usually do not see it until they hit the ice with their vehicle and start to skid. Inclement weather can cause road conditions to become unsafe, particularly at night when visibility is also a concern.
  • Drunk driving: Alcohol is often served at Thanksgiving dinner celebrations. In addition, people often gather at restaurants and bars over the course of the week and weekend to see friends who are home from college or to spend time with family who are visiting. Too often, people get behind the wheel of a car after consuming too much alcohol. Drunk drivers have slower reaction times, less coordination, and impaired judgment, which significantly increases car accidents.
  • Drowsy driving: Eating a large meal can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. If you also traveled earlier in the day, you may be exhausted by the end of the day. Driving is one of the top causes of car accidents throughout the year, particularly during Thanksgiving break. The more tired you are, the more likely it is that you could cause a serious car accident.
  • Drivers who are unfamiliar with the area: If you are constantly checking the navigation app on your phone or calling a friend for directions, you will be more likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, if you are not familiar with the area, you may not be aware of sharp curves in the road or other hazards that may cause you to swerve into another lane or slam on your brakes.

How Can I Avoid a Car Accident on Thanksgiving?

You cannot control the way other motorists drive, but you can make safety a top priority and take proactive steps to ensure that you and your passengers arrive at your destination safely. As you prepare for the holiday weekend, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Anticipate heavy traffic. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, and try to avoid peak travel times.
  • Be patient. Getting stuck in traffic can be frustrating, but do not take it out on other drivers by tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, slamming on your brakes, or cutting off other motorists. This will not get you to your destination any sooner.
  • Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order. Have a skilled mechanic check the tire pressure, brakes, the engine, headlights and taillights, and turn signals. Refill any fluids that are running low, and have any repairs done before your trip.
  • Get plenty of rest before driving a long distance. Take plenty of breaks along the way to get out of the car, stretch, and get some fresh air. If possible, share the driving responsibilities with another adult driver.
  • Plan your route. Map out your route before you hit the road so that you have a good idea of where you are going and how long it will take to get there.
  • If you have consumed alcohol, do not drive. Either stay the night where you are, get a ride home with someone who has not been drinking, or call a rideshare service.
  • Wear a seat belt. This may not prevent an accident, but wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways you can prevent serious injuries. Make sure that all passengers are buckled up as well.

What Should I Do After a Thanksgiving Car Accident?

Nothing derails a holiday weekend like getting into a car accident. However, knowing what steps to take immediately following the accident can make the ordeal less stressful and overwhelming:

  • Report the accident. Call 911 immediately so that dispatch can send police to the accident scene. They will also send emergency medical technicians if there are injuries. When police arrive at the scene, they will talk to both parties, ask questions about the accident, and write a police report.
  • Seek immediate medical care. Even if you did not suffer a serious injury, it is important that you are examined by a skilled medical professional after an accident. Some injuries do not show up right away, or the adrenaline rush can mask certain symptoms. Failing to seek medical care also sends a message to the other driver and your insurance company that your injury must not be very serious.
  • Take pictures. If you are physically able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene, including the damage to your vehicle, the position of the other vehicle compared to yours, your injuries, any skid marks or debris on the road, and the current weather conditions.
  • Talk to witnesses. If there were people who saw the accident happen, ask if they would be willing to provide an official statement. Ask for their contact information as well.
  • Exchange information with the other driver. You and the other driver should exchange contact information, as well as your driver’s license number, license plate, and insurance information. Keep the conversation with the other driver brief, and avoid saying anything that can be interpreted as an apology, as this can be used against you by the other driver’s insurance company.
  • Contact your insurance company. Notify your insurance company that you were involved in an accident.
  • Call a lawyer. A lawyer will assist you with the claims process and protect your rights.

Possible Damages

If you were injured in a car accident over Thanksgiving break and the other driver was at fault, you may have legal options. Whether the motorist was drunk, drowsy, or failed to use extra caution during inclement weather, you may be able to recover the following damages:

  • All related medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

Speak to a lawyer to determine if you are eligible to pursue damages.

Effingham County Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Advocate for Clients Injured Over the Thanksgiving Holiday Break

Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with friends and family, but it is also a dangerous holiday for motorists. If you have been injured in a Thanksgiving collision, our Effingham County car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law can help. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Deadly Houston Stampede Spurs Security Concerns

Police continue to investigate the cause of a crowd stampede at NRG Park in Houston on Friday, Nov. 5 that caused the death of eight people and injured hundreds more. Among those killed at the Travis Scott concert was a 14-year-old boy. A 10-year-old boy was among those who were injured. Those who lost their lives at the concert were between 14 and 27 years old. It is unknown what made the crowd surge forward.

With the headline performer, Travis Scott, starting at 9:00 p.m. the crowd became so dangerous that an ambulance entered the concert at 9:30 p.m. Concertgoers were lifting up the injured and surfing them over the crowd, hoping to get them to safety.

A security officer trying to restrain a concertgoer was jabbed with a needle and passed out. The officer was brought back to consciousness via Narcan, which counters the effects of opioid drugs. People were pleading for the concert to stop and seeking CPR for injured people.

Travis Scott, while at times appearing to urge on the crowd, also paused to say that something seemed wrong, but he continued to play until 10:10 p.m. The concert promotion company, Live Nation, ended the concert 30 minutes earlier than scheduled.

It is unknown how much the performers could tell was going on from the stage. Houston’s police chief said that concert organizers were concerned that cutting off the concert would possibly incite riots.

The city fire department saw no problems or obstacles at the exits. The fire department is looking into reports that the crowd was much bigger than the event planned to host, which was 50,000. NRG Park can hold up to 200,000 people, and there are reports that many were rushing in right before the concert started.

Families of those who have died due to negligence have the right to seek justice. The Savannah wrongful death attorneys at Kicklighter Law have decades of experience helping families with wrongful death claims. Call 912-754-6003 or fill out an online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Springfield, Georgia, the firm serves clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Are There More Car Accidents After the End of Daylight Saving Time?

On Sunday, Nov. 7, the clocks turn back an hour in the early morning hours to mark the end of daylight saving time (DST). While many people relish the idea of getting an extra hour of sleep, it also means that darkness falls much earlier. It can take some time for your mind and body to adjust to the disruption in your sleep cycle, even if the disruption means that you are getting one extra hour of sleep.

When the body’s internal clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, is disrupted, it can leave you feeling a bit tired and sluggish. This, combined with the fact that it is suddenly dark around 5:00 p.m., is just one reason why there is an increase in car accidents immediately following the time change. Reduced daylight, inclement weather, wet leaves, debris on the road, and foggy conditions can all increase the risk of a serious accident following DST.

What Are the Dangers of Drowsy Driving?

According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 60 percent of adult drivers said that they had driven while drowsy in the past year. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a survey which found that one in 25 adult drivers had fallen asleep behind the wheel over the course of a one-month period. This is a troubling statistic for a couple of reasons. First, the actual number of motorists who drive drowsy is likely much higher because drowsy driving is largely underreported. In addition, it is difficult to determine whether drowsy driving caused an accident.

Studies also show that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In fact, when a motorist is awake for at least 18 hours straight, it can have the same effect on the body as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Being awake for 24 hours or more is like having a BAC of 0.10 percent, which is higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Like alcohol, extreme fatigue can impact your ability to focus and concentrate on the road, as well as your coordination and ability to react to another driver or an unexpected traffic event. Fatigue can also affect your mood, causing you to become irritable or short-tempered while driving. As a result, you may be more likely to tailgate if you are running late, cut off other drivers, swerve in and out of lanes, or make rude gestures at another motorist. Drowsiness can also increase the effects of alcohol, even if the driver only had one or two drinks.

How Do I Reset My Internal Clock After the Time Change?

In anticipation of the time change, there are some steps you can do to minimize the disruption to your circadian rhythm and reset your internal clock, including the following:

  • Stick to a routine each day, particularly during the days leading up to and following the time change.
  • When possible, spend time outdoors while it is still light outside.
  • Get regular exercise, including at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise each day.
  • Make sure that your sleep environment promotes sleep. Adjust the temperature to a cooler setting, turn the lights off, and avoid looking at your phone or any other type of screen, as the blue light can prevent your brain from “shutting down.”
  • Avoid drinking any caffeinated beverages, alcohol, or nicotine before going to bed.
  • Read a book or meditate before going to bed.
  • Even though you may feel tired during the late afternoon or early evening hours following the time change, avoid taking a nap, as this can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep at bedtime.

What Safety Tips Should I Keep in Mind After the Time Change?

Fatigue, sluggishness, and lack of concentration are more often associated with losing an hour of sleep when we spring ahead in March. However, anytime there is a disruption in the body’s natural sleep cycle, it is going to affect you physically, mentally, and emotionally. This also means that you are more likely to get into a car accident in the days following the time change. To prevent this from happening, keep the following tips in mind.

Be Aware That it Takes Time to Adjust

Changing the clocks means that it is suddenly dark by 5:00 p.m. the very next day. It takes some time to get used to driving in the dark, particularly during rush hour when traffic is heaviest.

Follow Nighttime Driving Safety Tips

Some nighttime driving safety tips include:

  • Make sure that your windshield is clean. Dust on the inside or outside of the glass can create a glare and impact visibility.
  • Make sure that your headlights, taillights, and turn signals are working properly. Turn your headlights on at least one hour before sunset.
  • Watch out for wet leaves and other debris in the road. The leaves that have started to fall can be very slippery. They can also cover potholes and cracks in the road. If you hit a large pothole, you could lose control of your vehicle and get into a serious accident.
  • Do not look directly at the headlights from oncoming cars. Look down and to the right to avoid being blinded by the other vehicle’s headlights.
  • Pay attention to reflections that you see, as this could be an animal’s eyes. Slow down to avoid hitting the animal.
  • Avoid driving if you start to feel drowsy. If you have to drive, open your window, and for longer trips, take breaks, or pull over and take a short nap.

Get Enough Sleep

You may be surprised at how long it takes the body to adjust to an added hour of sleep, but the body’s internal clock takes some time to reset itself. In fact, for people who work a traditional job, it can take several days to fully adjust to the time change. Make sure that you are getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, particularly during the nights leading up to the time change and for several nights after the time change.

Make Sure That Your Vehicle Is in Good Working Order

As the seasons change, it is always a good time to bring your vehicle in to have it inspected. A skilled mechanic will make sure that your tires are properly inflated, the brakes are in good condition, and the headlights and taillights are all working. In addition, they will check all of the vehicle’s fluid levels and replenish those that need to be refilled.

Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car

While this will not prevent an accident, it will ensure that you are prepared for an emergency situation. An emergency kit should include the following:

  • Warm blanket
  • Extra clothing
  • Bottled water
  • Ice scraper
  • Shovel
  • Sand or kitty litter
  • Cellphone charger
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Basic tool kit
  • First-aid kit

Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Represent Clients Injured in Car Accidents Related to the Time Change

It is important that all drivers prepare for the time change, but you should not expect that every motorist will drive safely. If you were injured by a drowsy driver, you are urged to contact our Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law as soon as possible. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 912-754-6003 or contact us online. We are located in Springfield, Georgia, and we serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

Chatham County Personal Injury FAQs

A personal injury can come in all shapes and sizes, from a dog bite to a slip and fall accident. However, they all have one element in common – the event alters the victim’s life. A personal injury lawyer will help you during this trying time and make sure you are well compensated. Discover frequently asked questions about personal injuries and how our seasoned Chatham County Personal Injury lawyers can help:

What constitutes as a personal injury?

A personal injury is any event that a person is injured due to someone’s else negligence or intentional actions. A very common personal injury caused by negligence is a slip and fall accident. These accidents are normally caused by an employee’s negligence – spilling water and not cleaning it up or mopping the floor and failing to leave a “wet floor” sign. Personal injuries can also occur due to someone’s intentional actions such as mugging, pushing, or driving under the influence.

How much compensation will I receive?

The amount of compensation that is awarded depends on the specifics of the case. There is no one size fits all to determine exactly how much you will receive. To determine the amount, the judge will consider different factors such as medical bills, lost wages (present and future), emotional and mental suffering, and more.

What should I do immediately following a personal injury?

The most important action you can take after suffering an injury is to seek medical attention. Remember to keep all medical bills, documents, receipts, and any information related to your case. After you’ve been stabilized or cleared to go home, contact a personal injury attorney right away to discuss your case.

Why do I need a personal injury lawyer in Chatham County?

A Chatham County personal injury lawyer, like Mickey Kicklighter, has extensive experience fighting for victims of injuries. He knows exactly what to present to the court, how much compensation is appropriate, and what evidence is required to solidify your case. During your recovery journey, you should not have to worry about finances! He will help you receive an adequate amount of compensation so you can focus on getting better.

Contact the Kicklighter Law team at 912-754-6003 
to schedule a free consultation!

Do you have questions about your personal injury case? Contact us today.

When Does a Personal Injury Case Go to Trial?

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There are many factors that determine whether a personal injury case will go to trial or be settled out of court. A settlement is a way to formally resolve a lawsuit before the matter goes to court for a trial. According to U.S. Government statistics, most cases reach an out-of-court settlement, with less than five percent of all personal injury cases ever making it to trial. Every case is governed by its own unique circumstances, however, there are some common elements to be aware of that may decide what happens in a personal injury case.

Trials are expensive, so insurance companies can save money by settling instead of leaving the matter to a jury. A person suing for damages may want to settle their case rather than take the chance that they may lose in a trial. An experienced lawyer can evaluate the myriad facets of a case to determine the course of action with the most successful outcome. Some factors to consider include:

  • Time: A trial can go on for a long time, from the time the complaint is filed to when the verdict is issued can take over a year. Some trials drag on for multiple years, and after the verdict, the defendant can appeal, which would extend the time it takes before the case is over and damages are paid.
  • Expenses: Going to trial involves preparing pleadings, gathering evidence, analyzing evidence presented in discovery, reviewing documents, preparing witnesses, and appearing in court. This can all add up to large lawyer fees. Expert testimony may be required for a personal injury lawsuit, which is very expensive as well. Most experts are paid for their preparation and travel time in addition to their time providing testimony. Multiple experts may be needed to support and explain evidence being presented by the legal team. All types of expenses must be weighed against the risk of possibly losing the trial.
  • Damages: Damages sought by the client, including for injuries, medical treatment, future medical expenses, property and other damages, the client’s income, earning capacity, and lost wages.
  • Other factors: Age of the client and if they have a family, jurisdiction for the case, precedence, and how sympathetic the client will appear before a judge or jury.

What Should I Consider Before Accepting a Settlement?

Accepting a settlement means the amount may be smaller than the damages awarded in a trial. This is something that must be weighed against the time and expense of going to court.

If the settlement is reached before the complaint is filed, it keeps the matter much more private, something that may be in the interest of both parties. A settlement can be reached at any point in time, including before the lawsuit is filed, after the case has gone to trial, or during jury deliberations. However, the most important factor to know is that a settlement is permanent. It cannot be renegotiated, even if the plaintiff discovers new injuries or the original injuries develop into more severe ones.

What Should I Consider Before Pursuing a Trial?

It is entirely possible to lose a case at trial and not recover any money after having spent a huge amount of time and money. On the other hand, winning a case delivers a sense of justice that cannot be achieved in a settlement, where the defendant does not have to admit guilt for anything. When a plaintiff wins their case, the defendant is found guilty and then damages are awarded, which could be much higher than a settlement amount if the judge or jury takes pain and suffering into account. Punitive damages are also sometimes given in particularly egregious cases.

Due to the time, effort, and risk involved in going to trial, the process is much more stressful than reaching a settlement. Some of the uncertainty in a trial comes from factors outside the control of the lawyer, such as the performance of witnesses who may buckle under pressure on the witness stand. The discovery process where both sides present the evidence they will use in court may also bring unplanned surprises that must be handled.

Once the trial begins, there is no privacy. The courts are public, and in most proceedings, anyone can observe what goes on. All the personal details the lawyers for the defendant think are relevant for the judge or jury to know will be brought out into the courtroom. The defense may also hire a private investigator to confirm the details of a personal injury claim. Plaintiffs who value their privacy or who are unwilling to relive the trauma of the car accident, truck accident, or another traumatic event that caused their injuries may think twice about the trial process.

What Types of Compensation are Available in Personal Injury Cases?

A successful personal injury claim has the potential to recover more compensation than a settlement reached out of court. This is especially true if the plaintiff appears sympathetic to the judge or jury or if the type of negligence exhibited by the defendant is a problem in the jurisdiction where the case is being tried. Compensation awarded in a personal injury case may include some or all of the following:

  • Medical expenses, present and future
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium

In wrongful death cases where loved ones have lost a family member, damages may be awarded for emotional distress, loss of income, loss of companionship, medical expenses before the death, and funeral and burial expenses.

How Do I Choose a Personal Injury Lawyer to Handle My Case?

A personal injury lawyer should always be ready to go to trial for their client if the settlement amount they are being offered is unfair. Not every lawyer is experienced in the courtroom, and there are lawyers who settle cases expressly to avoid having to go to trial.

When choosing a lawyer, be sure to ask their personal percentage of cases gone to trial and record of success for cases that were tried in front of a judge or jury. Their average should be close to the national average. The insurance company will no doubt examine who is filing a claim against them, and if they see a lawyer has a track record of settling before trial, they will likely offer a lower settlement amount.

In some personal injury cases, the insurance company will refuse to pay proper compensation or anything at all to the victim, and under those circumstances, the case must go to court to prove the defendant’s negligence. Then, it will be crucial that the plaintiff’s lawyer is experienced in presenting evidence in a convincing way that leaves no doubt that the injuries were directly caused by the defendant.

A good personal injury lawyer will have excellent negotiating skills and enough experience to calculate what a case is worth by assessing the client, the client’s story, and the total damages. Only then can a settlement offer be evaluated and the best course of legal action decided.

Springfield Personal Injury Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Help Clients Decide if They Should Settle or Go to Trial

If you have a personal injury case, you can trust the Springfield personal injury lawyers at Kicklighter Law to guide you in the right direction. We use our decades of experience to provide personalized representation to each one of our clients. Call us at 912-754-6003 or contact us online for a free consultation. Based in Springfield, Georgia, we proudly serve clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.

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