The Link Between Tourism & Car Accidents in South Carolina
Hilton Head summertime traffic raises the risk for crashes & injuries
Every year, thousands of tourists drive down US-278 to enjoy South Carolina's Lowcountry beaches, entertainment, and annual events.
They bring with them a passion for fun, but also an increased risk of causing car accidents. That's because, typically, the more vehicles and unfamiliar drivers on a roadway, the more likely there will be a crash that results in severe injury or death.
This year, there may be more car accidents on Hilton Head Island than usual. The Island Packet reports the area is seeing a sharp rise in tourism compared to last year.
More tourists, more crashes
Research shows that tourists increase the number of serious car accidents. A recent study in the Journal of Transportation Safety & Security found that tourists are more often involved in road crashes. "More specifically, it was observed that the touristic season and tourism as the purpose of traveling led to an increase in road crashes, with the highest increase being observed in touristic regions," the Greek authors conclude.
In South Carolina, the tourist season got off to a strong start in March 2022. More than 67,000 vehicles passed over Jenkins Island's US-278 on a late-March Friday - the highest number since last July. About 66 percent of the tourists drove in from 50 miles or more away.
People are drawn to the Lowcountry for recreation and events like the Wine and Food Festival and the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing golf tournament.
There are many factors that contribute to the tourist season being a busy time for car accidents, including:
- Inexperienced drivers. Lack of experience is a major contributing factor to summertime car accidents in tourist areas. People new to the area are unfamiliar with roadways and are more likely to make abrupt stops and turns in traffic. It's also easy for drivers unfamiliar with an area to become distracted. Distracted driving can be caused by things like focusing on street signs instead of the road, entering addresses into a GPS, or checking out the scenery.
- Road congestion. Nice weather typically leads to more people on the road, which can lead to road congestion. The more people on the road, the more opportunities for accidents.
- Road construction. Tourism season frequently coincides with street construction projects. Detours, broken asphalt, sudden lane shifts, and busy work zones make roadways unfamiliar for even longtime residents.
- Drunk driving and impaired operation. Vacation often means letting loose and for some, that leads to drinking a lot of alcohol. This raises the number of drunk and impaired drivers on the roadway and increases the risk for car accidents.
- Excessive heat. Heat can cause dehydration which can lead to driver fatigue, error, and accidents.
A car accident lawyer can help if you've been injured
Everyone deserves a nice vacation, and spending time in South Carolina is a wonderful way to relax. It is important, however, for everyone to be aware of the tourist season's heightened risk for accidents. Stay alert and drive defensively - especially in congested or unfamiliar areas.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton, or other Lowcountry area car accident, contact Twenge + Twombley Law Firm for a free case consultation. At no cost to you, a member of our experienced legal team will listen to the details of your case, explain how the law applies to your situation, give you an idea of how much your claim is worth, and help you weigh your legal options.
We always demand maximum compensation for our clients.