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The deadliest time of the year for roadway travelers

Motorists in California and across the country may enjoy a safer holiday season if they remain mindful that Thanksgiving traditionally marks the beginning of the most dangerous time of the year on the nation's roadways. According to data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, more fatal motor vehicle accidents occurred on Thanksgiving in 2012 than on any other holiday that year. The research suggests that a number of the reported incidents may have been preventable.

NHTSA statistics show that approximately 40 percent of Thanksgiving Day fatalities in 2012 were the result of drunk driving incidents and that 60 percent of the deceased vehicle occupants were not using safety belts when their accident occurred. In addition to the 764 deadly vehicle crashes that were reported that holiday, nearly 50,000 non-fatal car accidents also occurred.

The danger does not immediately decrease after Thanksgiving. According to information provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. mortality rate in December 2013 outpaced the number of deaths that were reported during the previous month by approximately 5 percent. Some observers have noted that mortality rates have long spiked at Thanksgiving and remained elevated throughout the winter due largely to an increase in coronary events and car crashes at this time of year.

When preparing for a holiday road trip, a few simple precautions could help more drivers and their passengers arrive safely at their destinations. These include checking to see that windshield wipers are working correctly, tires are inflated properly, and travel time is allocated realistically in order to journey without need for haste in holiday traffic. However, if an auto accident does occur and it is due to the negligence of another motorist, people who have been injured as a result may want to meet with a lawyer to see how they might be able to recover compensation for their losses.

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