Your first guess might be the New Year’s holiday. Surprisingly, that was the second least dangerous holiday. The answer — Memorial Day.

Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in the month of May. It is a time to honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. Unfortunately, statistics reveal that it is also the number one holiday for the most road accidents. A sobering fact is that a person is four times more likely to die on Memorial Day weekend, than any other average weekend!

Often characterized as the unofficial start of summer, many families find themselves traveling during this three-day holiday, and most choose to drive. It is estimated that approximately 40 million people are on the road, traveling 50 miles or more, during this time period. 

With so many additional motorists on the roads, the likelihood of more accidents increases. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 400 people will perish during the Memorial Day weekend as a result of the increase in travel. 

Memorial Day is also a time for celebrating with backyard barbeques, pool parties or a day at the beach. These activities often mean the consumption of alcohol. While responsible people refrain from driving, this is not always the case. Many people drink and get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Sadly, 40% of Memorial Day weekend accidents involve drivers who are under the influence

One of the primary recommendations made by the NSC for a safer, holiday weekend is to practice defensive driving. This means wearing your seatbelt, designating a sober driver, getting plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and avoiding distractions, such as cell phone use. 

Memorial Day is a great day to honor our military and to celebrate with friends and family. There are many scheduled activities in our area. Check out Westchester County’s Memorial Day Weekend Events for the parades and special events scheduled in Westchester County. Enjoy the holiday weekend, and travel safely!