The Holiday Season Triad: Which Festivity is the Worst for Florida Drivers?
The final quarter of the year is filled with many moments and memories that we cherish. The arrival of fall brings cooler temperatures that allow us to spend afternoons and evenings outdoors. However, one of the most recognizable parts of the year's final three months is the holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are respectively the three of the most celebrated days in America. Because of this, many travelers flood the interstates so they can see their loved ones.
The influx in drivers can cause a lot of traffic. The more congested the roads are, that tend to increase your risk for an accident. So, which holiday do you need to have extra precautions in place before making your departure?
How Does the Data Stack Up?
Earlier this month, AAA Florida released a report that ranks Thanksgiving as the most dangerous holiday for Florida motorists. The period that includes the holiday itself and Black Friday starts at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening and extends through 2 a.m. Black Friday. With millions of people traversing Florida highways from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., motorists should be alert for fast-moving, aggressive drivers who see themselves as anointed as the world’s greatest shopper.
The high-tide effect kicks into a higher level at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and the heaviest traffic occurs between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. on Friday. Friday has the same high-tide effect and peaking between midnight and 2 a.m., during which the number of crashes between Thanksgiving and the following Monday is the highest. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the highest number of crashes occurs between 6 p.m. and midnight, but crashes jump up again between midnight and 8 a.m.
According to AAA’s data, there were 717 fatal crashes in 2016 associated with the Christmas holiday. This is a 5 percent increase from the year before. Of the fatalities, 51 percent (372) were motorists who were killed in crashes. This is almost double the number of traffic fatalities (198) during Thanksgiving week.
Which Florida Roads Fare the Worst?
According to new data from INRIX, the automobile data and analytics company, the top 10 U.S. roadways with the worst holiday traffic are located in Florida. The worst roads are I-75 in Volusia County at number one; I-95 in Palm Bay at number two; I-595 in Miami at number three; and I-75 in Broward County at number four. The report also reveals that Miami, Tampa, and Orlando's worst cities to be on the road during the holidays.
What to do to Avoid Florida’s Most Common Holiday Travel Fatalities
- Stay alert and pay attention when driving. Crashes usually occur when a driver is not paying attention or over-relies on navigation or smartphones.
- Please do not glance at the time or the GPS if you’re stopped in traffic. These activities can cause you to miss critical information. Your focus should be on driving safely.
- Give yourself plenty of time. It is wise to leave early to reach your destination.
- Drink responsibly. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is never an acceptable decision.
- Be patient. The busiest days for driving are on Thanksgiving Day and Sunday when traffic volume increases as people travel to their holiday destinations.
- Reduce distractions in the vehicle. Before you head out, be aware of all mobile distractions. The busiest time to be distracted behind the wheel is between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Avoid the crowds. Those driving late on Thanksgiving Day and on the Sunday following the holiday should allow extra time for getting to their destinations.
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