As the year comes to an end, Americans are celebrating another holiday season. The holidays can be a great time to reunite with family and friends. Unfortunately, the holiday season may not be the safest time to be on the road. According to statistics gathered by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), crash fatalities can increase by nearly 25 percent during the Christmas holiday season. Here are four common dangers of holiday driving:
With so many holiday gatherings to attend, people often find themselves in a rush, leaving one function late and speeding to get to the next one. Driving over the speed limit is always illegal.
More importantly, speeding should be avoided due to the danger it can pose to drivers and those around them. The NHTSA reports that one-third of all fatal automobile crashes involve drivers who were exceeding the speed limit, making it the second-highest cause of vehicular fatalities, with over 13,000 deaths each year. Excessive speeding also constitutes the third leading contributing factor in all automobile crashes. Remember that it is better to be late than to unnecessarily put yourself and others at risk of injury or death due to speeding.
While driving too fast is dangerous, winter is perhaps the worst time to do so in terms of safety.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, 22 percent of all car accidents are weather-related. When you factor in the snow, sleet, and ice that are so common during the season, it is easy to understand why winter is perhaps the most dangerous time to be on the road. If conditions are especially harsh, please ask yourself: Is this trip really worth the risk?
One of the main reasons that we do not see many friends and family members outside of the holidays is that they live far away from home. Unfortunately, making long road trips to see them can often leave drivers much more vulnerable to becoming drowsy, or even falling asleep at the wheel, which can be deadly.
Drowsiness impairs judgment and vision and reduces reaction time, all of which are critical for safe driving. According to the NHTSA, drowsy driving causes an estimated 100,000 police-reported crashes every year, resulting in an average of 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries. In fact, a drowsy driver behind the wheel can be as dangerous as a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you find yourself feeling drowsy, pull over and rest – it just might save your life.
Drunk driving is perhaps the most dangerous risk of the holiday season. We simply cannot ignore the fact that holiday parties often involve alcohol, and the combination of alcohol and driving is simply deadly.
Alcohol is the top factor in vehicular fatalities, even more so during the holidays. The NHTSA reports that two to three times more people die in alcohol-related crashes during Christmas and New Year’s than during comparable periods the rest of the year. 40 percent of traffic fatalities during these holidays involve a driver who is impaired by alcohol. By contrast, 28 percent of fatalities are alcohol-related during the rest of December. If you plan on drinking during a holiday party, please use a designated driver, and please be on the lookout for other drivers on the road who may be impaired.
We hope these tips help keep you safe as you celebrate this season. Happy holidays from your friends at GWC Injury Lawyers!