Memorial Day is coming up, and that means the streets and highways around San Diego will be more crowded than ever. Many of the cars on the road will belong to tourists and out-of-towners who are unfamiliar with California traffic. This will almost certainly lead to an increase in the number of crashes.
However, “unfamiliarity” doesn’t excuse an out-of-towner who just ran you off the road with a rental car. They may be from out of state, or even from another country, but tourists must obey the same traffic laws as the rest of us, and are liable for any damages they cause.
The Most Dangerous Driving Weekend of the Year
It may surprise you, but Memorial Day weekend is actually the deadliest holiday for automobile accidents. According to Value Penguin, a consumer information and recommendation site, Memorial Day has the most annual fatal accidents per year. And as you might expect, Southern California has an above-average number of accidents, meaning that we have more to fear during holiday time than many other parts of the country.
Overall, you are four times more likely to die in a traffic accident over Memorial Day weekend than a regular weekend. AAA estimates that close to 40 million Americans travel over fifty miles during Memorial Day, 88% of whom will be driving.
Even if they fly to San Diego, they will likely rent cars, which could be even more likely to lead to a collision. Drivers who are less comfortable with their vehicles often misjudge things, like turning radius, brake time, and acceleration. That could end badly.
Why Are There More Accidents on Memorial Day?
There are a number of factors in play that lead to Memorial Day accidents. Increased traffic means greater congestion and a higher accident frequency. Moreover, the general trend in the United States, for holidays and non-holidays alike, has been an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.
During holidays, distracted driving can also be more of a problem. Tourists and host families alike often have more passengers, including young children, which can increase the number of distractions in the vehicle. In addition, when traveling or visiting relatives, drivers are more likely to require the assistance of maps and cell phones.
Holiday drinking also plays a major role in the spike in wrecks. With cannabis now legal in California, it’s likely to add to the problem. There’s no excuse for impaired drivers, especially with the ubiquity of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, but many tourists still drink and drive.
Finally, holidays can be tense, and emotional stress can be compounded by congested traffic. Road rage is a very real occurrence, and it’s prevalent in Southern California more than most places. For people who aren’t used to it, the traffic here can bring out the worst in them, leading to reckless driving behavior and accidents.
Out-of-Towner Accidents Can Be More Complicated
If the guy who hit you wasn’t from California, the normal rules don’t necessarily apply. You shouldn’t just exchange information and think that’s it. When an accident involves foreigners, you should definitely call the police to make sure you’re getting the right information.
So, which insurance company is liable for the damages caused by a rental car? Is it the driver’s regular insurance, which will be from another state (or country)? Is it the coverage provided by the rental company? Sometimes, credit card companies also offer insurance for rental cars, meaning there will be one more party (and insurance company) involved. When multiple insurance companies get together, each and every one of them will be looking to limit their own liability as much as possible. This means that you, the innocent victim, could be left with very little money to pay for your injuries and vehicle repairs.
In some cases, you may not even know who was responsible for your accident! This happens when the perpetrator flees the scene, which is frequently the result of a driver being uninsured or intoxicated. In these cases, you’ll have only your own insurance company to protect you…do you trust them?
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a holiday driving accident, it’s imperative that you contact a San Diego car accident attorney as soon as possible. Jurewitz Law Group is a San Diego firm dedicated to protecting victims…from the unscrupulous practices of insurance companies. Don’t wait because you think an insurance agent has your back, and definitely don’t sign any kind of settlement. Let our attorneys take a look at your case and give you professional guidance on your best course of action. Your consultation is 100% free, and if we represent you, you pay us nothing until we get you compensation.
Don’t let your holidays (or the rest of your life) be ruined by someone else’s mistake. Call Jurewitz Law Group at (888) 233-5020.
Ross Jurewitz is the founder and managing lawyer of the Jurewitz Law Group, a San Diego personal injury attorney law firm. These San Diego injury accident lawyers specialize in helping people seriously injured in a variety of accidents throughout San Diego County and California.
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