Thanksgiving ranks as one of the busiest travel days on United States roadways. Millions of people travel on this day, with about 90% of them traveling by car. Unfortunately, with a spike in auto travel comes a spike in auto accidents (just as there is a spike in pedestrian collisions on Halloween). Not only are there more auto accidents during the week of Thanksgiving, but many of these collisions also involve out-of-state drivers who are visiting a loved one.
Based on data provided by Esurance, a new report takes a look at out-of-state accidents during the fall season. Many things occur in autumn which spurs auto travel: NFL and college football games, changing of the leaves, and holidays. According to the analyzed insurance data, 23.1% of out-of-state auto accidents in the United States occur during the fall season. Winter sees the least amount of out-of-state accidents with 22%. The season with the most accidents is summer, with just over 28% of accidents. Springtime travel sees the second-most, with 26.8% of accidents.
There are certain regions of the country that see more accidents during the fall season, making the percentages in those regions higher than the national average. The South and the Northeast regions of the United States see more accidents than other parts of the area during the autumn—making the rates there around one-quarter of total annual accidents.
Certain states see significant spikes in collisions during this time of year. Mississippi ranked highest for accidents involving out-of-state drivers in the autumn, with this cohort making up 18% of all accident claims last fall. Higher speeds on rural roads, fewer traffic lights, and wildlife were all speculated causes of these collisions. Also coming in with 18% of claims involving out-of-staters was Nevada, which saw some of the worst road congestion during the busiest times of the year. Rounding out the top of the list was Oregon, where 16% of claims last fall came from out-of-state drivers.
If you are traveling outside of your home state this holiday season, some common-sense tips include:
- Inspect your route before you drive it. Google Maps and many other widely available smartphone apps can give you up-to-date information about serious weather conditions, accidents, road work, and other factors that could impact your drive. This can be especially critical when you are driving in an unfamiliar area.
- Document, document, document. If you are involved in an accident out of state, the first step it to assess for injuries and safety. After medical attention has been obtained for anyone who may need it, and you are sure you are somewhere safe, begin the documentation process. Jot down all information you possibly can, including names, license plate numbers, insurance information, road signs, and anything else which may be relevant
- Don't forget photographs. Taking pictures after a car accident is often suggested, but it can be especially important when you're unfamiliar with road names, neighborhoods, and other important details