Tis the Season. Why Holiday Driving Can Be the Most Dangerous Time of the Year

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  • The chances of becoming involved in a vehicle accident increase significantly when more cars are sharing the roadway, including during rush hour, when inclement weather hits, and over the holidays.

    Increased Traffic Fatalities

    Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals a dramatic increase in the number of crashes that involve fatalities during the summer months and over the holidays. As an example, during Christmastime, the NHTSA states there is an average of 45 deaths occurring each day, due to alcohol-impaired driving. That number grows significantly (54 deaths) per day over the New Year's Holiday.

    Many families choose to drive to their relatives' homes for the holidays. The increased number of traveling families creates havoc on the roadways where there are significantly more people sharing the freeways and side streets while deviating from normal driving patterns.

    Safer Holiday Season Driving Tips

    The holiday time of year tends to be highly stressful because of the hustle and bustle. However, taking practical steps can ensure that you, your family, friends, and other drivers sharing the roadway can remain safe during the season.

    Following the tips below can ensure you avoid becoming an injured or deceased victim of an auto accident. The steps include:

    Avoid Consuming Alcohol

    It's essential to avoid consuming alcohol when driving anywhere. Just one or two drinks could cause an increase in your alcohol blood level that is higher than the legal driving limit. This higher level can significantly increase your risk of being involved in an accident.

    Driving above the legal limit (0.08 BAC) can triple your risk of causing a collision. While everyone wants to be festive during the holiday season, drive only while sober. If you drink too much, make accommodations to stay overnight, and remain off the roads.

    Alert and Awake

    Any deviation from normal driving habits can alter your attention and alertness. If you feel sleepy, do not drive. Being tired or distracted can significantly increase the risk of being involved in an accident.

    Avoid pushing through to get to your relatives or back home faster. Alternatively, take a nap. Sleeping for just twenty minutes or more can increase your sense of alertness to help you better prepare for safer travels.

    Give Yourself Plenty of Time

    If you're traveling for the holidays, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely. Rushing can make you panic at meeting your deadlines, which might cause you to drive faster and less safe. This decision might cause you to forego the much-needed good driving practice

    Avoid Driving Through the Busiest Hours

    Avoiding traveling during the busiest times is crucial to decreasing your chances of being involved in a car or truck accident. The days leading up to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's tend to be the busiest on the roadways. If you can, choose to leave a few days earlier.

    If leaving early is not possible, avoid traveling locally or across the country during peak hours. During the off-time, the roadways will have fewer vehicles, which can decrease your chances of having a collision.

    Remain Prepared for Any Emergency

    It is essential to be prepared for any urgent situation and ensure you have an emergency kit in the vehicle that is ready to use. The holiday seasons, during the fall and winter months, could cause you to become stranded during harsh weather conditions.

    Your emergency kit should contain jumper cables, water, lighting, emergency flares, and material or chains that allow your vehicle's tires to gain traction. Remember to bring along an auxiliary phone charger to ensure you have communication with family and emergency services, including tow trucks and ambulances.

    The holiday season can be significantly more dangerous on the roadways than at other times of the year. Even so, there is no reason to stay home when you can remain safe by following safe driving practices. This time of year is also dangerous for pedestrians and bicycle riders who share the road with motorists.

    There are significant risks involved in traveling during the holiday season. However, taking a little effort can improve your chances of avoiding a collision that causes damage, injuries, or even death.

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