When we turn the clocks back an hour Sunday Nov. 4, it will signal the final turn toward autumn and the deadliest two months of the year on our nation's roads.
Our Knoxville injury lawyers note the nation is already dealing with an uptick in the number of fatal accidents after several years of decline attributed to the poor economy. The National Safety Council reports 21,560 motorists were killed through August this year -- up 7 percent from the 20,200 deaths reported last year.
The number of fatal Tennessee traffic accidents increased more than 10 percent -- to 693 this year, compared to 629 last year.
Common Factors in Autumn Traffic Accidents
Early Dark: The end of Daylight Savings Time often plunges the evening commute into darkness. This can increase the risk of all types of accidents, including bicycle and pedestrian crashes and those caused by drowsy driving.
Deer Accidents: Tennessee can expect more than 24,000 motorists to collide with a deer this year, according to the annual report released each fall by State Farm. The average motorist has a 1 in 183 chance of striking a deer in Tennessee, which ranks the state 29th. More than 1.2 million of these crashes occur annually and about 200 are fatal. Serious and fatal crashes involving deer typically result when a motorist loses control of the vehicle and drives off the road or into oncoming traffic. November is the deadliest month, followed by October and December.
Pedestrian Accidents: Back-to-school and early dark both increase the risks for pedestrian accidents. Parking lot accidents are also prevalent through the busy upcoming holiday shopping season. Elderly consumers and children are most at risk.
Drunk Driving Accidents: One-third of the nation's traffic fatalities involve a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means about 2,000 people will be killed by a drunk driver through the last two months of the year. However, the real number is likely to be even higher, as pro and college football season and the trio of year-end holidays increase the number of drunk drivers on the road.
Aggressive Driving: Fewer than 60 shopping days left until Christmas! Stressed yet? We all face additional pressure through the holidays. How we handle it is a major determining factor in our risks of being involved in an accident. Speeding, disobeying traffic control devices, driving too fast for conditions and tailgating are all driving behaviors that increase risk. Give yourself a break this holiday season -- and give the drivers around you a break.
Bad Weather: Now is the time to have your vehicle serviced. Check your tires, your battery and your fluid levels. Being prepared for inclement weather is the first step in reducing the risk of a serious or fatal accident.