Busy Memorial Day Indicates Higher Risk of Summer Car Accident Deaths
The Memorial Day weekend was a busy one for U.S. roads. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), traffic was about five percent heavier than Memorial Day 2014. About 34 million people chose to drive to their holiday destination, and preliminary reports indicate that the rate of deadly auto accidents and injury-causing crashes was higher than it was in 2014 as well.
These trends of heavier traffic and more car accident deaths are expected to continue through the summer, according to researchers. Why? The studies point to three possible causes:
- A longer summer. Because Memorial Day fell on May 25 this year, the "official" summer season of Memorial Day to Labor Day is fifteen weeks long, instead of the usual fourteen. This extra week gives families more opportunities to take short trips by car, say researchers.
- Lower gas prices. During the recent holiday, gas prices averaged a dollar per gallon lower than they were during Memorial Day 2014: about $2.74 per gallon nationwide, instead of last year's $3.77 average. Lower gas prices make it easier for families to travel and to travel more.
- The need to get away. Unusually rough winters in the Midwest and Northeast have left families throughout the country longing for summer. Now that warmer weather is here, more people are hitting the road more often in an effort to shake off the winter blues.
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