Traveling for the Holidays

Visiting friends and family is the single biggest reason Americans travel during the holidays. Visits account for 53 percent of all Thanksgiving long-distance trips and 43 percent of long-distance trips during Christmas/New Year’s. Visits make up only 24 percent of all long-distance travel during the remainder of the year. While travel to visit family and friends is up significantly during the holidays, other pleasure and leisure travel remains relatively unchanged.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, the Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ­destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year. And although heavy media attention is usually focused on crowded airports and bus and train stations on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, when personal vehicle trips are added to the mix, the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

Unlike Thanksgiving, which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November, the Christmas/New Year’s travel period, and the resulting travel pattern, varies depending on the day of the week on which the two holidays fall. In 2013, when Christmas and New Year’s Day fell on Wednesday, the Saturday and Sunday preceding Christmas Day were generally the busiest travel days of the entire 17-day holiday travel period. The days immediately following Christmas were generally busier than New Year’s Day and the two following days.  This year Christmas/ New Year’s fall on a Thursday.

In 2013, there were 22,483 automobile crashes in the State of Virginia during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  Out of the 22,483 there were 11,523 automobile accidents in November with 72 of those accidents causing fatalities and 19 of the fatalities accidents were alcohol-related.  In December, there were 10,960 automobile accidents with 65 of those accidents causing fatalities and 13 of the fatalities accidents were alcohol-related.

Please remember, the holidays aren’t set for a specific time, and while the holiday dinner may be, your life is more important than gifts, food and spirits. Take your time when making the trip to see family and friends for the holidays. Many drivers are overwhelmed with making it on time to celebrate with their loved ones, so you not only have to pay attention to your own driving but other people’s as well

Even though this post pertains to Holiday Automobile Travel, Attorney Warren’s book entitled:  A Crash Course in Virginia Automobile Injury Cases, is a great way to ensure that you protect your rights after any type of vehicle accident. To receive a free copy of the book, click the following link:  A Crash Course in Virginia Automobile Injury Cases.

Although The Warren Firm is located in Charlottesville, VA, Vaden Warren accepts and tries cases from all over Virginia, including Richmond, Louisa, Tappahannock, Lynchburg, and many other surrounding cities and towns. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Virginia car accident, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (434) 972-9090 or visit our website at The Warren Firm.