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College students and other young adults take to the roads every year for a much-needed break from the gruesome school curriculum. They head off to far away, sunny party destinations for a breather. However, it’s not just all fun and games during this time. It has been noticed that there is an increase in car crashes during spring break time in popular spring break destinations. When there is more traffic on the road, we should be vigilant of the roads a little more than usual. 

Increase of car crashes during spring break 

For most colleges, spring break tends to fall between February and April. A study done by the University of Miami concluded that there was a rise of car crash fatalities during this time period in popular spring break destinations across seven states:

  • Texas
  • Nevada
  • South Carolina
  • Arizona
  • Virginia
  • California
  • Florida

Although other studies highlight an increase in alcohol consumption during this period, this study didn’t find a significantly greater number of traffic fatalities involving alcohol. In addition, not only are young adults at risk of fatal wrecks, but it is bad news for everyone, including residents and other visitors of spring break hot spots. Most fatalities involved drivers younger than 25 years old.  In addition, it is an important reminder that just because people under the age of 21 are considered minors doesn’t excuse them from the consequences of a drinking and driving accident. 

While alcohol certainly has an impact, other key points in the study suggested that driving, including using cell phones and talking to passengers, was likely a common reason for the increase in Spring Breaks accidents and deaths. They included the fact that there is an increase in out-of-town drivers and younger, inexperienced motorists who are more likely to be distracted behind the wheel. 

Four tips to stay safe on the road during spring break

Avoiding a car crash is not always possible when you consider other drivers may not be as alert as you. Knowing what you can do to stay aware of your surroundings is one step to avoiding the serious injuries caused by the negligent actions of others. Consider these four safety tips while on your 2021 spring break road trip:

1. Minimize distractions.

Five seconds is all it takes to change your or someone else’s life. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are away from the road while texting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than intoxicated driving. By now, it’s a known thing not to use your cell phone as you are driving. Most car accidents happen because of distracted driving, and in many states, texting and driving is illegal.  Try to install your Bluetooth devices to minimize as many distractions as you can. Keep your eyes n the road and always stay alert while operating your vehicle. 

2. Be aware of driving conditions.

This includes road conditions, the weather, and road closures. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to your destination safely without rushing or speeding. 

3. Whatever you plan on doing, no matter what, you should NEVER drive and drink.

If you plan on drinking, make sure that you have a plan established, whether that’s having a designated driver within your friend group, a cab, or using a ride-share option. This tip includes not letting your drunk friends off the road. By doing this, you are helping keep the roads safe for everyone. 

4. Make sure that your car is prepared before a long road trip.

This includes checking that your tires are inflated properly, all fluids are at their proper levels and the level of gas. The best advice that could be given is to have a trusted mechanic check your vehicle to make sure you are set to go. The last thing you want as you leave town is an oil leak or busted brakes. Take the precautions necessary to keep yourself and other drivers on the road safe. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that we’re still in a pandemic. If you travel for spring break, wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, and practice good hygiene.

What should I do if a drunk driver hits me?

No matter how safe you and your passengers are, accidents still happen. However, if an intoxicated driver hits you, they may be held liable and responsible for your injuries. If you need medical attention, 911 can arrange this. If a drunk driver hits you, you need to call 911 right away to have the police on the scene. Once you have called, you should follow the next steps:

  • Determine if you or someone else is needing medical attention.
  • If you are able to do so safely, document the scene. This includes taking photos of empty bottles (if there are any) or other incriminating evidence. If the driver tries to flee the scene, take a picture of their license plate. If needed, try to take a video of the driver if they are slurring their words, bloodshot eyes, stumbling, or other signs of intoxication. 
  • Once the police arrive at the scene, tell them your version of the events and cooperate with any information they might need from you. You should receive a police report at the end of the interaction that will include contact information, but if you don’t, request a copy once it has been finalized. 
  • After you have addressed your medical needs, get in contact with one of our car accident attorneys. The Carlson Law Firm understands that money doesn’t alleviate all your problems. However, we can help you seek the justice and compensation that you deserve. Also, one of our attorneys can help you when it comes to communicating with the other driver’s insurance company. This will ease the hassle of dealing with the insurance company and your legal right to compensation. 
  • DO NOT post anything on social media about your accident. Posts and photos can be used by the insurance company as evidence in your case. Something as small as posting your sweaty selfie from a killer workout at the gym could affect your claim- the insurance company can claim that you weren’t really in pain if you were able to work out. 

Forms of compensation if an intoxicated driver hits you

When innocent people face medical bills, missed work time, or are unable to live life to the fullest because of someone else’s negligence, there are legal remedies that will force the drunk driver to pay for your burden. Texas allows compensation for the following damages:

  • Lost wages or lost earnings
  • Medical expenses, including future expenses for long-term or ongoing care
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity 
  • Counseling services
  • Funeral expenses

At The Carlson Law Firm, we care

At The Carlson Law Firm, we want to ensure that all drivers and travelers are safe this spring break season. However, knowing that there is an increase in car crashes during spring break, we want you and your loved ones to take precautions to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Unfortunately, accidents happen, no matter how careful we are.  If you or a loved one has been injured because of a negligent driver, contact our offices to help you seek the compensation you deserve. 

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