Memorial Day Weekend: The Most Accident-Prone Weekend of the Year


Memorial Day Weekend marks the [un]official start of summer and that means trips to the beach, day trips, and lots of heavy traffic on the roads.  The holiday weekend runs from Friday May 25 at 6pm to 11:59pm on Monday May 28th.

Drivers are in a hurry to get where they’re going, frustrated sitting in traffic, and when drivers are aggravated, they’re 20% more likely to get in an accident.

In general, summer is the most deadly driving season – more deaths occur during the three summertime holidays – Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day – than the rest of the year’s holidays.  According to the National Safety Council, each summer holiday typically claims over 110 lives each day, the highest average per-day fatality rates.

Research shows that red-light violations are 27% higher on Memorial Day Weekend than compared to the average holiday weekend with over 2.3 million drivers in 18-states running red lights on the holiday weekend last year.  That averages 1.2 red-light violations each second of the weekend.

The increase of distracted driving certainly plays into this – just one glance at your phone can result in running a red light, crossing into another lane, or worse – hitting an innocent bystander.

If we pay attention, slow down and be courteous, we can increase our changes of making it to picnics, beaches, and barbeques rather than emergency rooms,” says Deborah A.P. Hersman, the President and CEO of the National Safety Council.  


Safety Tips for Drivers on Memorial Day Weekend

Pay Attention At All Times.

If you are sitting in stop-and-go traffic for a long time, it can be easy to get distracted and start fidgeting with the radio, playing on your phone, or even just getting carried away with your passengers. It’s very important that you stay fully alert and pay attention at all times so you see merging cars, pedestrians, or emergency vehicles that are navigating their way through traffic.  Don’t allow distractions to be the cause of reckless driving while you are on the way to your destination.

Allow Extra Time for Travel

It’s better to arrive at your destination safely, rather than on time.  There will inevitably be more traffic on the holiday weekend, so plan accordingly – leave earlier than planned, take an alternative route, and know it will take longer to get to your destination than on any other weekend. Don’t rush traffic lights or speed to make it there on time, drive safely and cautiously to prevent accidents due to being in a hurry. 

Get Out and Stretch

If you are traveling a far distance for the holiday weekend, plan breaks every few hours to get out and stretch.  Stretching your legs and giving your brain a break will allow you to stay more alert when you are back on the road. If you stop to get food, park further away so you have to walk a little more.  

Know The Risk is Higher

Plan your travel around the times when risk is lower on the roads. Friday afternoon poses the greatest risk since people are getting off work and are ready to enjoy their long weekend. During these times, there is a higher risk for accidents since people will likely be hungry (which can contribute to stress levels). Be sure your visor doesn’t block the roadway and you stay alert and focused.

It’s always sad to hear about accidents that could have been prevented.  We wish everyone a safe and accident free Memorial Day Weekend!

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