It’s that time again. The most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are meant to be a peaceful season when people gather to enjoy each other’s company, reflect on the past year, and look forward to the year ahead. We bustle about, going to holiday parties, seeing friends and family, and picking up the perfect something for our loved ones.
Of course, along with all of the warmth and good cheer come a few downsides and safety risks as well. As the year winds down and the days get shorter, we tend to feel busier and more stressed than at other times of the year. This holiday stress and colder weather combine to weaken our immune systems, causing missed work days and fatigue. House fires, choking accidents, and food poisoning are all more common from November through January.
One of the most important safety concerns to keep in mind over the holidays is the risk of an automobile accident—particularly an accident involving a delivery truck or tractor-trailer. The consequences of a collision between a passenger vehicle and a commercial vehicle are usually devastating, resulting in injury or fatalities more often than in other types of accidents due to the difference in size. Major highways such as I270, I255, I55 and I64 have numerous accidents involving semi-trucks in the St. Louis, Missouri area, many of which result in life-changing injuries or worse.
Factors That Lead to Increased St. Louis, MO Tractor-Trailer Accidents Over the Holidays
Whether you’re planning a long road trip to see your extended family or simply driving around St. Louis, Missouri to finish up your holiday shopping, you are likely to end up sharing the road with all types of large freight trucks and other commercial-transport trucks. According to statistics released by the National Safety Council, December and January are the worst months for car accidents that result in injuries and fatalities, including a 10% spike in accidents involving tractor-trailers. Here’s why:
- Increased Traffic. The number one reason there are more accidents involving commercial vehicles over the holidays is simply that there are more drivers on the road. In addition to all of the passenger vehicles on the road due to shopping, a busier social calendar, and long-distance holiday travel, there are also more delivery trucks and 18-wheelers. For example, UPS recently announced that they expect to ship 750 million packages this holiday season—and that’s just one shipping company. Once you account for every shipping company, and every freight company keeping all of the big box retailers stocked for the holidays, the number of additional trucks on the road becomes staggering. The holiday season is the perfect time to refresh your knowledge of Truck Safety Tips.
- Poor Conditions. Not only are you likely to be facing snow and harsher winds over the holidays, but visibility is also reduced due to increased fog and shorter days. If these kinds of conditions create difficulties for passenger vehicles, they create even greater concerns for commercial vehicles. Drivers of large vehicles such as tractor-trailers and delivery trucks already have to contend with compromised visibility due to no-zones. They also have to react more quickly, since it takes longer for a heavily-loaded truck to stop, and they have a more difficult time with heavy wind and rain. If you are driving at night or in any of these conditions, play it extra safe and give tractor-trailers even more room than you normally would.
- Driver Fatigue. Both automobile drivers and truck drivers are more likely to be operating vehicles while tired during the holidays. Truck drivers are pushing themselves, working extended shifts and back-to-back shifts to make tight delivery schedules and meet the demands of the season. Meanwhile, automobile drivers tend to be putting in longer hours at work, going to social events after work, and doing double-duty to plan parties, get all of the presents under the tree, and get holiday dinners on the table. It’s easy to see why accidents increase during this time of year, since fatigue impedes focus, reduces our cognitive abilities, and slows down reaction time. Our advice: When in doubt, wait it out. Pull over at a rest stop to close your eyes, take a quick break, or stretch before continuing your trip.
Remember to call your loved ones, bundle up, and be smart about road safety this holiday season. If you have been in a commercial delivery truck accident in the St. Louis, Missouri area, contact the experienced accident attorneys at Walton Telken for help.