Before you can enjoy a vacation with your family, you first must get yourself and your family to your destination. Whether your destination of choice is simply a couple hours away or halfway around the world, travel can always pose risks of accidents and injuries. Such risks exist no matter what form of transportation you choose. Though some modes of traveling are generally safer than others, injuries and fatalities occur each year on almost every type of transportation.
According the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology under the United States Department of Transportation, the following injuries and fatalities occurred in 2010 on various modes of transportation:
No matter how you travel, it is important to educate yourself and your family of the risks of injury and be prepared.
Though the above statistics show that motor vehicles overwhelmingly cause the most injuries and fatalities of any form of transportation, you must keep in mind that there are significantly more motor vehicles traveling every day than there are planes, trains, or commercial ships. That being said, there are inherent risks of accidents and injuries when you travel by any type of motor vehicle. Motor vehicles include cars, sport utility vehicles, vans, buses or motor coaches, commercial trucks, motorcycles, and more.
Motor vehicle accidents can happen when you least expect it and for a number of reasons. Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents include the following:
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI)
- Drivers who are texting, talking on a cell phone, or engaging in other distractions
- Aggressive drivers who are speeding, tailgating, making improper and frequent passes, or who are road raging
- Drivers who are violating other traffic laws or traffic signals
- Defective auto parts, such as tires, brakes, airbags, and more
- Dangerous road conditions and hazards such as potholes, uneven pavement, dangerous intersections, and more
- Inclement weather conditions and/or other drivers who do not adjust driving to the conditions
These are only some examples of causes of motor vehicle accidents. If you are traveling by car or another small passenger vehicle, there are some steps you can take to avoid accidents. For example, map out your route ahead of time and check the weather, road, and traffic conditions so that you are prepared for any sudden changes. Make sure you have necessary safety equipment, such as water, blankets, first aid kit, and more. Try to provide children with plenty of entertainment so that distractions are as limited as possible. Finally, make sure that the drivers switch off regularly or take frequent rest breaks to avoid fatigued driving.
Trains can be a fun and cost-effective way to travel, though they also come with risk of accidents and injuries. First, trains can be involved in collisions with other motor vehicles or railroad cars, which can cause devastating damage and injury to passengers. Train collisions can result in derailment of the train, roll-over, fires, explosions, and more. Though these collisions are relatively rare, they do occur and travelers do suffer severe, if not fatal, injuries.
Even if a train arrives safely at your destination, injuries can still occur while traveling by train. For example, passengers may suffer injury in the following ways:
- Slip and fall accidents6 due to slippery floors or other dangerous conditions on the train
- Suffering injury if luggage or other objects fall from overhead compartments
- Becoming the victims of violent crime due to inadequate security
- Suffering from food poisoning from concessions
- Falling and suffering injury while boarding or exiting the train
If you are traveling by train, you should ensure your family knows to watch out for any possible hazards that may cause injury.
Everyone knows that plane crashes can cause serious injuries and often have few survivors. In the event that someone you love dies in a plane crash, you may be able to recover for your loss by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. More common than injuries suffered in a crash, however, are injuries suffered on a plane during a flight.
Much like a train, many different conditions and negligent acts can lead to injuries during an airline flight. Some common causes of in-flight injuries include the following:
- Attendants not properly securing overhead compartments
- Attendants leaving objects in the aisle so that a passenger trips and falls
- Having unqualified pilots or flight attendants
- Not having proper airline safety policies in place or failing to follow such policies (such as refusing to allow a very intoxicated or irate passenger to board the plane)
- Failing to properly warn passengers to fasten their seat belts if turbulence is possible
- Distracted pilots who do not foresee turbulence or other issues
The pilot or the air traffic controllers employed by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) make a mistake that results in a rough landing or “fender bender” on the ground
These are only some of the ways that passengers frequently suffer injury while traveling by airplane. If you plan to travel by plane, you should always fly on a trusted airline with a good reputation for safety and be sure to keep the seat belts of any children fastened whenever possible. Additionally, be sure to plan ahead so that you arrive at the airport in plenty of time, as many injuries occur when individuals or families are hurrying through the airport in a rush to make a flight on time. Finally, always supervise your children both in the airport and on the plane to help prevent any injury to them.
The above are only some of the ways that you can plan ahead to keep yourself and your family safe while traveling. By following these tips and more, hopefully you will be able to enjoy you vacation without any accidents or injuries.