There are few things as heartbreaking for a family as losing a loved one over the Christmas holiday. However, car accidents alone take hundreds of lives every year. It's a risk most families face.
In trying to break down the risks, researchers note three things that can impact how many accidents happen. They are:
- Alcohol. One study found that about 35 percent of Christmas wrecks were linked to drinking and driving. The holidays do tend to show a spike in drinking, which doesn't work well with the spike in travel. That said, other holidays are worse. New Year's saw a 42 percent correlation, for instance.
- The economy. The recession wasn't good for many people's bank accounts, but it did help cut back on fatalities. People don't travel as much for the holidays when they just don't have the means. For instance, from 2009 to 2011, the average deaths at Christmas came in at 250 in one study. From 2003 to 2008, in a far stronger economy, the average was 370.
- The date. Obviously, Christmas is always on Dec. 25, so that means it moves around throughout the week. If it's on the weekend or close, there tend to be more deaths. One year, with a mid-week Christmas day, there were hundreds less estimated deaths. People may get a day or two off from work, but they don't travel as far if they have to work right before and after the holiday.
As you can see, the risk of a Christmas car accident is high this year, in a recovering economy and with Christmas on a Monday, connected to the weekend. If you're hurt or a loved one is killed, be sure you know what legal options you have.
Source: USA Today, "24/7 Wall St.: The most dangerous holidays," Michael B. Sauter and Thomas C. Frohlich, accessed Dec. 12, 2017