During the holiday season, many people take to the road. Whether you’re literally going over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house, driving to the mall for last-minute shopping, or going to see extended family in another state, it’s very important to stay safe as you drive.
The Holidays Are Dangerous on the Roads
Why? Because the holidays, in addition to being wonderful times for get-togethers, are dangerous. Roughly 1,200 people die each year in car accidents between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day every year.
The holidays themselves are deadly. On Christmas Day itself, 273 people died in car accidents in 2015 (the last year for which statistics are available), versus 355 fatalities on New Year’s Day.
More than half of all these fatalities stem from driving while impaired by alcohol.
How can you make this holiday season safer while on the road? Here’s 3 tips.
1. Don’t drink and drive
From office parties to special holiday dinners, the holiday season is filled with more occasions than usual to drink. Eggnog on Christmas Eve and champagne on New Year’s Eve are traditions for many people.
But the safest driving rule of all is simple: if you’re drinking, don’t drive. Designate a person who will agree to not drink as the driver. Call a car service. Sleep over on the sofa. If you’ve been drinking at all, don’t get behind the wheel of a car. Not even to drive a few miles. Deaths and injuries all too frequently occur close to home.
2. Obey the speed limit
The holidays are time-pressured as well as festive. You may be rushing to get last-minute presents or driving quickly to get between houses on Christmas or New Year’s, when many people have dinner at one house and dessert at another. Don’t drive over the speed limit.
In fact, if the roads are snowy or icy, drive only at the speed it is safe – which might be under the posted speed. Accidents happen when people rush and there are many cars on the roads, both of which are true during the holiday season.
3. Prepare an emergency kit
Many accidents occur in the winter because of snowy or icy roads. If you spin off the roads due to conditions like this, the safest thing to do is have an emergency kit. In it should be emergency flares, bandages, some nonperishable food, and a warm wool blanket, at a minimum. A first aid kit is also advisable. If you must flag down passing motorists or wait for the police, be prepared.
Also, although of course you are not going to use your phone while driving, you will need it in case of an accident. Make sure you have a phone charger for your car and never leave the house without your phone being fully charged. It stays turned off and put away unless you need it for an emergency, though – because distracted driving is just as dangerous as drinking and driving.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are seasoned attorneys who fight for maximum compensation on behalf of clients who were hurt in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and what next steps could be. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with a seasoned New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer today.
- Drinking and Driving Rises During Holidays. Addiction Intervention. https://www.addiction-intervention.com/current-events/drunk-driving-current-events/drinking-driving-holidays/.
- National Safety Council. Enjoy a Safe Holiday Season. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/winter/holiday.