Holidays are often accompanied by an increase in dangerous driving. Drinking and driving may be the most notorious of holiday traffic problems, but countless serious car accidents are caused by people running red lights and committing other moving violations. According to a study by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, Memorial Day weekend may be the most dangerous time of year for drivers. The number of drivers running red lights increases by more than 27 percent on this weekend than on non-holiday weekends. The result of these traffic violations is an increase in fatalities and serious injuries occurring at intersections all over the country.
There are several factors that contribute to the increase in moving violations during Memorial Day weekend. As with many holidays, particularly holidays when the weather cooperates, many more drivers take to the roads than normally would. Congested roads can try drivers’ patience and cause them to make poor decisions. The desire to get ahead of traffic and get to holiday destinations more quickly can overwhelm a driver’s normal good sense. This is reflected in the fact that an unusually large percentage of red light violations occur on the Friday before Memorial Day between 1 and 5 p.m.
Negligent driving at intersections poses a danger to the driver, as well as to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. The same impatience that causes drivers to run a red light can cause others to cross the intersection without checking for traffic. Most people assume that it is safe to go when the light turns green. The collisions that result often cause injuries and can be fatal. Moving violations led to approximately 130,000 injuries in 2009, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
This Memorial Day weekend, please take the time to practice safe driving. Pay close attention at all intersections and be aware other drivers may not be as conscientious as you are. Staying safe is a vital component of enjoying a holiday weekend.
Source: USA Today, “Memorial Day a peak time for running red lights, study says,” by Charisse Jones, 23 May 2012