With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s approaching, millions of Americans are planning visits with their families and friends. For those planning on traveling this holiday season, whether it is across town or the country, safety must be a top concern. Drunk driving actually increases during the holiday season, and aggressive driving, excessive speeding, and reckless driving can result in severe consequences.
Additionally, weather, road closures, or blocked intersections can alter driving conditions in seconds. There may be more distractions in the car than usual, like children or pets. Motorists are also more likely to be taking medicine for colds that can cause drowsiness. There’s a lot to consider when driving this time of year.
Why Roads Are So Dangerous During the Holiday
The holidays are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be driving, considering the rates of accidents and fatalities. Many are avoidable, but accidents can happen at any time for a variety of reasons.
Drunk drivers are to blame for 40% of all traffic-related deaths. Office parties and holiday celebrations can lead to overindulgence. Sometimes, even the most cautious driver can throw care to the wind and drive intoxicated.
Inclement weather like snow, black ice, and high winds can turn the happiest time of year into the scariest. Not all drivers know how to handle these conditions and can cause serious damage to another vehicle and its passengers.
Fatigued and stressed driving is also more prevalent during the holidays. Many people travel across the country to be with their family and friends. Work and school schedules could make drivers feel rushed, stressed, and tired. These conditions can lead to speeding or falling asleep at the wheel.
How to Be Safe While Driving on the Roads
Even the most experienced drivers are susceptible to the many risks of the road. Weather and traffic can wreck the most thought-out plans. Here are a few ways you can keep yourself and others safe when driving this holiday season:
- Plan ahead. Winter weather can throw any plan into chaos. Check the weather forecast a few days before the trip. If necessary, break the trip into two days or leave a day early to avoid severe weather. Always give yourself ample time to arrive at your destination.
- Remain alert. Make sure the driver is well-rested before a long drive. Not all drivers will be at their best, so stay focused on the road and drive with extreme caution. Pause for an extra beat at traffic lights or stop signs. Even plan for a secondary driver if the person driving becomes fatigued.
- Drive sober. Most people have a drink or two during holiday events. If you do drink, make alternative travel arrangements to get home safely. Having these plans in place makes it easier for everyone to enjoy the party.
- Practice winter driving. If you haven’t driven in snow lately, it may be a good idea to practice driving around the block or an empty parking lot.
- Slow down on icy roads. Icy roads are one of the most dangerous winter driving conditions and can lead to pile-ups. If roads are covered in snow or seem slick, it’s best to slow down and leave ample room when braking.
Driving during the holiday season also brings several challenges like limited daylight and unfamiliar roads. The key to keeping yourself and passengers safe is to be aware of your surroundings. Holiday festivities bring everyone out for cheerful gatherings, but people may not exercise the utmost caution before and after their events.
Car Accident Attorneys in Michigan
If you’re involved in a car accident during the holidays or any time of year, the experienced lawyers at Michigan Legal Center are here to help. We specialize in representing clients injured in auto accidents. With more than 20 years of experience, it’s our job and our passion to fight for Michigan residents. Our team is here to answer any of your questions and explain the necessary steps following an auto accident. Call us at 1-800-961-8447 or contact us for your free consultation.