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Drive safe over Memorial Day Weekend

Many people in the Chicago area are leaving work early today--that is, if they didn't take the entire day off. Memorial Day Weekend is a popular time of year to go out of town to visit friends or family. Even those of us who stay in town are likely to drive to a barbeque or two. With the increased traffic, unfortunately, comes an elevated risk of being involved in a car accident. It is critical for drivers to take this issue seriously and to drive responsibly.

The National Safety Council has estimated that almost 400 people will die in fatal car accidents this weekend, between 6 p.m. today and 11:59 p.m. Monday. Don't increase the chances of being involved in one of these crashes by making poor decisions, such as drinking and driving or driving while fatigued or distracted.

In addition to 382 traffic deaths, the NSC estimated that 40,000 people will suffer injuries in car accidents over the long holiday weekend.

Deborah Hersman, the president and CEO of the NSC, explained: “We issue these estimates to draw attention to risks on the roadways and encourage drivers to take extra precautions so needless tragedies can be prevented.”

The NSC also estimated that seat belt use alone could prevent 139 fatalities over the weekend. In addition to buckling up, the NSC is urging drivers to ensure that children are properly seated in the right safety seats. Furthermore, the agency is encouraging drivers not to use cellphones, even of the hands-free variety, and not to drink and drive. Driving cautiously and defensively can also prevent crashes.

If you do find yourself involved in a car accident this holiday, it is important that you are aware of your legal options. When car accidents involve negligence, victims are often able to hold drivers accountable for their actions under Illinois personal injury laws. This can result in compensation for medical costs, property damage and more.

Source: National Safety Council, "National Safety Council Estimates Nearly 400 Fatalities from Crashes this Memorial Day Weekend," May 19, 2014