Now that fall is in full swing, the holidays are just around the corner. Although the upcoming season is associated with festive gatherings with loved ones and long trips or vacations, driving during this time of year is particularly risky.
The following are the most common driving dangers during the holiday season in the United States:
Drunk driving – Holiday festivities are almost always associated with alcohol consumption, starting from the day before Thanksgiving (commonly known as Blackout Wednesday) until New Year’s Day, the roads become more dangerous due to the increase of drunk drivers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drunk-driving-related fatalities during the holiday season accounts for almost one-third of all deadly crashes annually. Do not allow yourself, friends, or family members to drive while impaired. Designate a sober driver, request an Uber or Lyft, stay over at a friend’s house, or book a hotel or motel room for the night.
Unfamiliar driving – Many people take long road trips during the holidays to spend time with family members in different counties or even states. Some of them may embark on these journeys for the first time, which means they will be driving on unfamiliar roads. The truth is visitors have a higher chance of being involved in a crash due to being unfamiliar with the roads they take. If you are going on a road trip, please plan accordingly. Check all the potential routes you can take, stay away from distractions while driving, and reduce your speed and drive cautiously to be prepared for any unexpected road conditions.
Fatigued driving – When you add holiday gatherings, decorating, and shopping on top of your work schedule, life can get really busy and draining during this season. Additionally, after daylight saving time, we find ourselves driving more at night. All these conditions can lead to fatigued driving, which can be just as dangerous as driving while impaired. Drivers during long road trips may also drive while they’re drowsy after being on the road for hours and hours. It is imperative to try to get between seven to eight hours of sleep each night. If you feel tired while driving, pull over to a rest area or check into a motel and take a quick nap.
Stressed driving – The holidays can be stressful, especially when it comes to the financial pressures of holiday shopping and doing too many things in a short period of time. Stressed driving can lead to reckless driving and even road rage. Such disregard for other people’s safety can result in a collision. During this season it is important to take care of your physical and mental health to avoid being overstressed.
Inclement weather – From rain and wind to snow and ice, inclement weather conditions can make driving more hazardous. Furthermore, if you tend to skip regular maintenance on your vehicle, you may experience a malfunction while driving in such conditions. Make sure you check the weather before you drive and service your car.
The bottom line is that driving during the winter holidays can be dangerous for many reasons. You must always be alert and drive defensively with more hazardous conditions on the road.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by negligence in Princeton, Bluefield, or Charleston, WV, call Katz Kantor Stonestreet & Buckner, PLLC at (304) 713-2014 or complete our online contact form today to request a free initial consultation. Providing experienced personal injury services throughout West Virginia since 1931!