Why motorists need to be careful over Memorial Day weekend

At this exact moment, many people throughout Georgia are packing their bags, loading their trunks and filling up their tanks in preparation for a Memorial Day road trip. Statistics show, however, that they won't be alone in looking to get away.

According to AAA, as many as 39.3 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from Thursday, May 25 to Monday, May 29, the highest number of travelers in 12 years. Furthermore, AAA is projecting that 88 percent of people will be making their way to their respective destinations by car.

Closer to home, AAA is projecting that 1.17 million residents of Georgia will be traveling over Memorial Day with as many as 1.05 million going by car.

While rising wages, lower fuel prices and increased consumer confidence are likely the reasons why so many people are hitting the road, travelers might want to consider a recent study by the personal financial website ValuePenguin before taking off.

Using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, researchers determined the average fatality rates for seven major holidays/holiday weekends from 2011 through 2015. Somewhat surprisingly, the upcoming holiday took first place.

  1. Memorial Day weekend: an average of 312 fatal accidents per year
  2. Labor Day weekend: an average of 308 fatal accidents per year
  3. July 4th weekend: an average of 307 fatal accidents per year
  4. Easter weekend: an average of 280 fatal accidents per year
  5. Thanksgiving weekend: an average of 258 fatal accidents per year
  6. New Year's: an average of 245 fatal accidents per year
  7. Christmas: an average of 231 fatal accidents per year

The purpose in sharing this information wasn't to cause travelers unnecessary alarm, but rather to impress upon them the need to practice safe driving. This means always wearing a seat belt, keeping smartphones off or stowed away, abiding by the speed limit, obeying traffic laws, taking breaks when tired, and using a designated driver.

Always remember that when the reckless actions of another motorist have resulted in serious bodily harm or the loss of a loved one that you can seek justice.

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