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Is Your Next Vacation Safe?

Fatal vacation accidents happen more than you think.

When we think of vacation, we find ourselves daydreaming about beautiful weather, lounging, eating well, and going on excursions.

One of the last things on our mind is a vacation accident, although they do happen. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 25,000 tourist deaths occur worldwide from car accidents each year alone.

In the recent Ride the Ducks boat tragedy, which killed seventeen people on Table Rock Lake, tourists embarked on what they thought would be a routine Ride the Ducks excursion, until a storm hit, causing the boat to sink.

The worst part? The tragedy could have been prevented had the Ride the Ducks company heeded the storm warnings and followed the National Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations for duck boats.

How common are fatal vacation accidents?

What may seem like a tragic accident is actually no accident at all; Ride the Ducks, currently owned by Ripley Entertainment Company, has been in legal hot water before for previous deaths and safety violations.

Unfortunately, the Ride the Ducks tragedy is just one example of the many vacation accidents that happen each year. From selfie deaths to preventable water park accidents to fatalities caused by bacteria lurking in hotel swimming pools, fatalities on vacation happen more often than you think.

According to the U.S. Department of State, there were more than 10,800 American citizen fatalities overseas from October 2002 to December 2017, with the cause of death being non-natural (not including suicide deaths).

What are the most common fatal vacation accidents?

It's more likely your luggage is lost or an airline gives you a massive headache than sustaining a serious injury or death on vacation. This being said, there are many dangers tourists must recognize when traveling both domestically and internationally; vacation accidents are responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths every year.

As reported by Thrillist, the following vacation activities caused the highest number of U.S. citizen deaths abroad:

Air Accidents

Responsible for approximately 336 deaths.


Responsible for nearly 1,244 lost lives.

Other Accidents (Such as Hiking and Rafting)

Responsible for over 1,250 deaths.


Responsible for nearly 1,913 lost lives.

Vehicular Accidents

Responsible for approximately 3,004 deaths.

Other common causes include food poisoning, terrorist action, and drug-related deaths.

How to Avoid a Vacation Accident

Before signing with a travel agency or onto any an excursion while booking your vacation, San Jose personal injury law firm, Henshaw & Henry, PC, recommends checking the credentials of any company you interact with to ensure legitimacy and standard compliance.

It’s also recommended to do the following before or on your vacation:

  • Check travel warnings.
  • Learn the rules of the road for your upcoming destination, both international and out of state.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Wear life jackets and helmets when appropriate.
  • Read liability waivers prior to signing.
  • Avoid consuming large amounts of alcohol, particularly before physical activity.
  • Keep an eye on children at all times.
  • Lock all doors.
  • Safely stow your valuables.
  • Read posted warning signs (especially at pools, lakes, oceans, and when on hikes).
  • Plan driving ahead of time.
  • Research the area’s crime rate.
  • Report all suspicious activity (if you see something, say something!).
  • Be aware of your surroundings.

As a tourist on vacation, it’s your job to have fun, but it is also crucial to research excursions, travel warnings, and potential dangers you may encounter on your trip to avoid serious personal injury or even death. Employing these tips on your next vacation could help save a life!

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