Easter is a fun holiday with something for the whole family. From the young children who get to color Easter eggs and hunt for the golden egg on Easter morning, to the adults who enjoy coloring Easter eggs with their kids and watching them hunt for eggs, to the personal whole-family traditions around home-cooked meals or attending religious services, Easter can be a good time for all.
Easter Sunday falls on April 17 this year, and the holiday begins on Good Friday, April 15. That means many people will making the family holiday into a three-day weekend event.
Unfortunately, traffic fatalities in New Jersey rise by more than 35 percent on the major holidays, increasing to an average of more than two road-going deaths per day on the holidays. The holiday road-going death average is higher than the approximate 1.5 deaths that occur during daily non-holiday travels.
With significantly-increased travel danger on Easter, it helps to know what makes holiday travel so dangerous. New Jersey tends to be more dangerous for drivers than many other states.
What Makes New Jersey Holiday Traffic Dangerous?
Driving in New Jersey over the Easter holiday is especially dangerous with the addition of spring break travelers going to the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City.
Contributing to the Easter weekend driving dangers in New Jersey are:
- Congested roadways.
- Distracted driving.
- Drunk driving.
- Poorly maintained vehicles.
- Potentially bad weather.
Only the biggest travel holidays of the year surpass Easter in roadgoing deaths. New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are more dangerous with the weather and playing a significant factor. The summer holidays of Memorial Day and the Fourth of July also are worse than Easter.
Whether you are planning on attending religious observances, taking the kids to an Easter egg hunt, or just visiting with family and friends, it is wise to take some precautions.
There are many potential causes of an Easter holiday accident. The following tips could help you and your passengers to travel safely while enjoying your holiday weekend.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Many people overlook the need to keep their vehicles in top condition prior to heading out for a holiday vacation. They might get an oil change and check the tires, but that is a small part of what should be done to properly maintain your vehicle.
Check the brakes and replace the brake pads as needed. If the rotors are scratched or warped, turning them could restore a smooth and even surface, which helps the new brake pads to get a good bite on the rotors and bring you to a safe stop more quickly. Bleeding the brake fluid will help to remove water and tiny air bubbles from the calipers. If you don’t know how to perform this service on your own car, see a mechanic in advance of your trip.
Ensure that all of your lights are working properly. That includes your turn signals, taillights, and brake lights. If you have one or more lights that are burned out or otherwise are not working properly, that could create confusion among other drivers and cause an accident.
Check the wiper blades and replace them as needed. Top off the wiper fluid reservoir before your trip. You need wiper fluid to remove bird droppings and dead bugs from your windscreen. Replace wiper blades if necessary, as worn wiper blades could make it very hard to see if it is raining.
Balancing the wheels and rotating the tires will help you to know your tires are in good condition and the wheels will roll smoothly. The battery and charging system should be checked. Flush and fill the radiator as needed. Consider taking your vehicle to a mechanic before your trip for a full inspection.
Plan Your Trip and Easter Activities Ahead of Time
After you ensure your vehicle is in good condition for the trip, you should plan your route, travel times, and holiday activities. Avoid driving during peak travel times in the morning and early evening. If you are among those who work on Good Friday, it may be best to wait until the next morning to start your trip. Heading out in peak traffic after putting in a full day of work could cause you to feel fatigued while driving.
The longer your drive, the more important it becomes to include stops that will enable you to take a break and stay refreshed while driving. If you have another person to share driving duties, changing drivers once every hour or two will help to keep you alert and sharp.
Your weekend plans should include time for Easter activities, visiting friends and relatives, and eating good meals. Avoid consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances that cause a hangover and make it difficult to operate a vehicle or properly rest.
Eating well and getting a good night’s sleep before you leave will help to keep you energized, alert, and ready to drive safely.
Wear Seatbelts and Use Child Safety Seats
Make sure you and any passengers in your vehicle wear your seatbelts. The National Safety Council says that people who do not wear seatbelts are 10 times more likely to suffer an injury in a car accident.
If you are traveling with any young children, you should use a child safety seat and install it properly. A child safety seat that is not properly installed will not protect a child as intended. You must follow the directions provided and safely secure your small child.
Driving at the speed limits or the speed of traffic will help you to maintain a safe following distance of at least three seconds. If it is raining, or if there is any other inclement weather, you should increase your following distance to ensure that you can come to a safe stop as needed.
Using the onboard safety equipment will help you and any passengers to avoid becoming part of an unfortunate statistic while driving in New Jersey holiday traffic.
Turn Off the Cellphone
Distracted driving is a primary cause of accidents and traffic fatalities across the United States. You can prevent that from happening to you by turning off your cellphone while you are driving. It is illegal to use a handheld phone while driving in New Jersey.
If you are traveling with other people, let them talk on your phone for you as needed. If you leave your cellphone on while you are driving, you might be tempted to answer it if it rings, or glance at an incoming text message that you might receive. Taking your eyes off of the road for even a couple of seconds is equal to driving up to 300 yards without paying attention to the road, which could be especially dangerous.
Keep a Sharp Eye Out for Pedestrians
Easter egg hunts are a fun and traditional way to celebrate Easter, but there could be a greater potential for driving through areas where lots of children and their parents might be participating in an Easter egg hunt, so you should pay close attention to pedestrians of all ages. Excited children can be careless and run out in front of vehicles in parking lots, driveways, and neighborhood streets. Driving slowly and scanning the sides of the roadway will help you to spot any pedestrians of any age. If any step into your path, you stand a much better chance of stopping safely instead of hitting a pedestrian.
Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law Help Accident Survivors to File Strong Claims
Your best efforts to drive safely improve the odds of preventing an accident, but a negligent motorist still could collide with your vehicle. If so, our experienced Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law can help. Call 732-308-0200 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our law office in Freehold, New Jersey. We represent clients in East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as in New York City.