Summer always seems to go by so fast, and many people are excited for Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is often seen as the unofficial end of summer, which means more people will be traveling. The holiday traffic leads to a greater risk of car accidents.
One of the most proactive ways to prevent Labor Day auto accidents is to prepare the driver, passengers, and vehicles well in advance. The car should be checked and tuned-up ahead of time, with its fluids topped off, tires inflated, and the engine checked. All vehicles should be stocked with the following items:
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit
- Emergency stop sign
- Tire gauge
- Duct tape
- Towels and rags
- Well-supplied first aid kit
- Non-perishable food
- Water bottles
The route should also be planned out ahead of time, as this prevents the need of having to fuss with the GPS while driving. Food and rest stops can also be added in as part of the route.
Deciding to travel outside of rush hours, waiting until bad weather has passed, and not driving at night are also good decisions. Travelers should listen to traffic and weather reports before they hit the road, and they should never drive when they are tired.
As added precautions, drivers and passengers should bring hand sanitizer products, cleaning wipes, and face masks along for the ride.
As a reminder, children should be told to never talk to strangers while at rest stops, and anything of value should be locked in the trunk.
How Dangerous are Virginia Roads on Labor Day Weekend?
Virginia State Police reports accident statistics every year, including those that occur during Labor Day weekend. In 2020, 15 recorded crashes led to 17 fatalities during the holiday weekend. Out of those 17 fatalities, five were not wearing seat belts. The majority of these accidents also happened at nighttime. Although the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic may have kept more people off the roads last year, Labor Day 2021 will likely have more traffic and accidents.
What are the Main Causes of Labor Day Weekend Accidents?
Many motorists push themselves to drive when they are too tired, and this can be a fatal mistake. Letting passengers share the driving can prevent accidents. Drowsiness can create symptoms that can mirror driving under the influence. Both drowsy and drunk driving can cause slow reaction time, confusion, aggression, and moodiness.
Even though Labor Day weekend is in the summer, the roads can be wet and even icy in parts of the country. Heavy thunderstorms are not unusual during this time of year as well. When the weather conditions are poor, drivers should slow down and leave extra room in between vehicles. It is not a good idea to use cruise control on wet roads since this increases the chance of losing control. Sharp turns and hard breaking are also not recommended since these will require extra stopping distance. Experts advise turning into skids rather than out of them and to never slam on the brakes when this is happening.
Distracted driving is another major cause of car accidents. To prevent this from happening, drivers need to put their cellphones on Do Not Disturb mode and place them in consoles to prevent the temptation. While it may be safer for drivers to talk rather than text on phones, speaking with someone else, even other passengers, can take attention away from the road. Looking at the mirror, paying attention to a pet in the back seat, eating, drinking, and changing the radio station are also avoidable distractions.
Aggressive Driving on Labor Day Weekend
Holidays mean more travelers will be on roads, increasing the number of car accidents. The increased traffic can also cause drivers to feel pressured. A driver’s state of mind could cause them to speed to get to their destination. The stress of the holiday weekend can make motorists drive more aggressively. Some drivers may tailgate and swerve in and out of lanes.
Additionally, drunk driving accidents increase on holiday weekends. There is the possibility that drivers are drinking and doing drugs behind the wheel. If one suspects a driver is impaired, it is important to stay away from them. One can also report them to the authorities.
Expect Heavy Traffic and Delays
Drivers and passengers should expect heavy traffic and possible delays. Besides driving defensively, it also helps to be respectful to others who are sharing the road. Maintaining safe distances, respecting other drivers, and always giving others the right-of-way are ways to prevent accidents.
Important Car Accidents Laws in Virginia
In Virginia, drivers involved in car accidents must report them if property damage and injuries have occurred. Drivers must contact a local law enforcement agency or the state police. When reporting, a driver must provide their name and address, license information, and vehicle registration number. Anyone else involved in the accident must give this information as well.
Virginia also has a contributory negligence law that drivers should know about. Claimants cannot receive any compensation from other drivers when they are found to be in any way responsible for the accident. This, in turn, helps car insurance claims adjusters evaluate these cases. Final decisions can impact the amount of compensation.
However, pursuing an auto accident settlement is not always out of the question, and a person has options available to them. An injured party can file a claim with their auto insurance provider as long as the loss is covered by their policy. When that happens, the insurance company will most likely proceed to pursue a subrogation claim with the liable driver’s policy. Sometimes, people will file a third-party claim with the liable driver’s insurance provider. The third choice is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable driver in court.
Additionally, all states have statutes of limitations for filing auto insurance lawsuits. In Virginia, if someone is injured in a car crash and wants to file a suit against the allegedly liable party, the individual has up to two years after the accident date to file an injury case in the civil court system.
Property damage cases are a little different. For property damage cases related to car accidents, there is a five year statute of limitations.
Additionally, the filing deadline for a wrongful death suit related to a car accident is two years. However, instead of this starting after the accident date, it starts on the date that the victim passed away.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC Promote Safe Labor Day Weekend Driving Habits
If you plan on traveling for Labor Day, you are at a greater risk of getting into a car accident. It is important to always follow safety precautions. Even with safety measures, accidents can still happen. If you need help with a Labor Day weekend collision, speak to one of our dedicated Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. We will help you through every step of your case. Call 757-LAW-0000 or contact us online for a free consultation today. We are located in Virginia Beach, and we proudly serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, and Eastern Shore, Virginia. We also serve our clients throughout the United States through our network of associated attorneys.