The holiday season is statistically the most dangerous time to be on the roads. Holiday season car accidents are also the most likely to be fatal when compared to any other time of the year.
According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 350 people will never make it home from Christmas weekend, and even more won’t make it home from New Year’s weekend. More than 1,000 people are in fatal crashes every year in the week between Christmas Eve and New Years Day.
With that in mind, here are some things to avoid and consider as you travel this holiday season.
Drunk Drivers in Holiday Season Car Accidents
That this needs to be said in 2022, is nothing short of disappointing. Do not drink and drive! With that established, did you know that in 2020, 39% of the traffic deaths on Christmas Eve/Christmas involved alcohol and 49% of the traffic deaths during New Year’s involved drunk driving.
Many drunk drivers leave the scene of the accident. Watch this 2 minute video that explains what to do if you’ve been the victim of a hit-and-run:
It should be noted that with the number of different parties that occur during the holidays, it’s not just impaired drivers to keep a lookout for. This time of year also means that more people are on the road in general.
With schools and many workplaces closed during this time, more people are apt to be driving after holiday parties and events. This puts more drivers on the road, especially later in the afternoon and into the night. That is why it is especially important to drive with caution once the sun goes down.
How often do you look at another car and think, “Put your phone down and drive?” It’s easily once a day. Distracted driving is always a concern, but distractions are more prevalent during the holiday season.
People are calling or texting friends and family more frequently during this time. This takes their focus off the road, putting them and you at risk of injury.
To learn how we can prove distracted driving if you are our client, watch this 2 minute video:
One set of distracted drivers that most people don’t think about is, the out-of-town/unfamiliar driver. These are people who don’t live in the same city as you and have come to visit family. Most are unfamiliar of where they’re going.
They often use GPS, which takes their eyes off the road. They also don’t know where to turn, so they often slam on their brakes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds, when traveling 55 mph, your vehicle would drive the entire length of a football field. That 100 yards is travelled as if your eyes were closed.
That’s why it is important that you focus on the traffic around you and don’t become a victim of a holiday season car accident.
Another issue that people don’t appreciate enough is weather hazards. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about one-fourth of all weather-related vehicle crashes occur on pavement that is icy or snowy.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in vehicle crashes on snowy, slushy, or icy pavement annually.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel. It means that you should be careful of where and when you’re driving. Snowy conditions create visibility problems, which at night can be disastrous. So when you decide to hit the roads this holiday season, make sure to check the weather before leaving.
In North Alabama, it might be 20 degrees on Christmas, or it might be 85 degrees. We just never know! But it’s not just your ability to drive in harsh weather conditions, it’s other people. That’s why traveling in icy/snowy weather conditions should only be done if necessary.
Tips for Driving Safely During the Holiday Season
With all of this danger around, what can you do to avoid holiday season car accidents? Here are a few tips that can help.
- Do not drive when you are impaired.
- Avoid distractions while driving, such as using your cell phone.
- Check the weather conditions in your area.
- Buckle children in age- and size-appropriate car seats.
- Don’t use bulky/puffy coats underneath your child’s car seat harness.
- Discuss the rules of the road with your teenage driver.
- Review this information with your teenager
This list is not exhaustive. Part of keeping safe is to use common sense. Don’t be in a hurry to get places. The party can wait.