If you hit the road this holiday season, you should be aware of an added risk of auto accidents occurring. Two of the most dangerous driving times of the year are the days before Christmas and the ones immediately leading up to New Years. If you choose to travel, choose to know the risks on the roads during this time of year. The causes of automobile accidents could produce an endless list, but three stand out among them as particularly perilous circumstances.
- More people traveling on the roads.According to USA Today, in 2013 alone an estimated 95 million people were predicted to be driving to visit friends and family during the holidays. A dramatic increase in the number of people on the road, and an increase in the distance those motorists drive naturally raises the risk for accidents. A congested road, especially in the winter where weather can be a factor in accidents, too often proves to be a fatal one. Make sure to check your vehicle and ensure that it is safe to drive on winter roads. Installing inflated tires fit to drive in snow or ice, making sure defrosters work, and keeping an emergency kit in the car are all small steps to take to make sure you get to your destination swiftly and safely.
- More intoxicated people on the roads: The holiday season is a time for celebrating, and alcohol is often the jubilant beverage of choice. While there is nothing wrong with having a few drinks with friends or a glass of champagne on New Year's, you should not start to consume alcohol until you have arranged a safe ride home. Once you start drinking, you could lose perspective and subscribe to the idea that you are fit to be behind the wheel when that isn't the case. You want to make certain you have a designated driver or access to a transportation service, eliminating the temptation to get behind the wheel. It is noted that 42% of traffic accidents on New Year's Eve alone are a result of drunk driving. Don't be part of that percentage.
- More people traveling in unfamiliar locations. The holiday season is often revered as a time to visit family and friends, or simply to travel to destinations unknown or unfamiliar. While an exciting opportunity, a driver who spends a lot of time looking at a GPS or map instead of the road could create substantial accident risks. Distracted driving, often related directly to the use of apps and technology, is a leading cause of accidents. While technology has attempted evolving to remedy this, even hands free devices and apps designed to reduce distraction aren't a solution to a deadly problem. "Freeing the drivers' hands does not necessarily clear their heads," the New York Times says. If you are traveling with passengers, assign the navigation duty to someone who can safely focus on it.
More drivers always equals more cause for concern. With added congestion on the roads comes the need for added defensive measures.
While you can make the choice not to drive after consuming alcohol or behave dangerously on the road, you cannot control the behavior of others- which means you are in danger of getting hurt due to the carelessness of other motorists who decide to drive under the influence or engage in other high-risk behaviors.
The National Safety Council predicts that driving during the upcoming holiday 2016 period may cost 314 people their lives, and another 364 deaths are predicted to occur during the days surrounding New Years. You, or your loved ones could become one of these statistics if a careless driver causes a crash that hurts you.
If another driver does operate a vehicle while impaired or engaging in reckless behavior resulting in a crash, that driver needs to be held fully accountable in the eyes of the law. This may not stop at criminal prosecution for causing injury to someone, but also civil lawsuits by those who are harmed.
Don't take risks this holiday season-take precautions.