Memorial Day Weekend: Kickoff of Summer and Car Crashes

Memorial Day is a poignant occasion to honor and remember the brave individuals who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the nation’s armed forces. It’s a day marked by solemn ceremonies, heartfelt tributes, and visits to cemeteries to pay respects to the fallen. However, amidst reverence and reflection, our Virginia Beach car accident attorneys know that Memorial Day weekend also carries a less somber but equally significant association: the high risk of crashes.

Why the Increase in Crashes?

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day weekend signals the beginning of warmer weather, outdoor activities, and road trips for many Americans. Families and friends gather for barbecues, picnics, and other festivities, often involving travel by car. However, the increase in traffic volume, combined with factors like alcohol consumption, fatigue, and distracted driving, creates a perfect storm for accidents on the roads.

Heavy Travel

One of the primary contributors to the heightened risk of car accidents during Memorial Day weekend is the surge in travel. Millions of people take to the roads to visit loved ones, vacation destinations or simply enjoy a scenic drive. Highways and interstates become congested with vehicles, increasing the likelihood of collisions, especially in areas with heavy traffic or construction zones.


Alcohol consumption is another significant factor in Memorial Day weekend car accidents. With many gatherings involving alcohol, there’s a heightened risk of impaired driving. Despite widespread awareness campaigns and law enforcement efforts to combat drunk driving, it remains a persistent problem during holidays like Memorial Day. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment, coordination, and reaction times, making it dangerous to operate a vehicle.


Fatigue is also a contributing factor to Memorial Day weekend car accidents. Long road trips, irregular sleep schedules, and increased activity can lead to driver fatigue, impairing concentration and alertness behind the wheel. Many travelers underestimate the effects of fatigue on driving ability, putting themselves and others at risk of accidents, especially during long stretches of highway driving.


Distractions further exacerbate the risk of car accidents during Memorial Day weekend. With more people on the roads, there’s a greater chance of encounters with distracted drivers. Whether it’s texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, or attending to children in the backseat, distractions divert attention from the task of driving and increase the likelihood of collisions.

Inexperienced Drivers

Memorial Day weekend often sees an influx of inexperienced or infrequent drivers on the roads, including tourists and young people. Lack of familiarity with traffic patterns, road conditions, and local regulations can contribute to accidents, especially when combined with other risk factors like alcohol or distractions.

Consequences of Crashes

The consequences of Memorial Day weekend car accidents extend far beyond the immediate loss of life and property damage. Families are left devastated by the sudden and preventable loss of loved ones. Survivors of accidents may face long-term physical and emotional challenges, including disabilities, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The economic toll of Memorial Day weekend accidents is also substantial, encompassing medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and increased insurance premiums. Moreover, the societal cost of traffic fatalities and injuries extends to emergency response services, healthcare systems, and the justice system.

Various initiatives have been implemented to promote safer driving behaviors in response to the heightened risks during Memorial Day weekend. Law enforcement agencies often increase patrols and conduct sobriety checkpoints to deter drunk driving. Public awareness campaigns, including the Virginia State Police’s Click It or Ticket campaign, remind drivers to stay vigilant, avoid distractions, and practice responsible behaviors behind the wheel.

Call Our Virginia Beach Personal Injury Law Firm for Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Memorial Day crash, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation and find out what legal recourse you may have for financial compensation for the losses that will result from those injuries. Our firm is dedicated to getting our clients the financial compensation they deserve, which is why our attorneys have recovered more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts.