Christmas time is full of cheer and love. However, just like any time of year, there’s always a chance for a sudden and unfortunate car accident. As we all know, dangerous holiday drivers are at an all-time high during November and December.
While many American holidays can increase traffic, stressful drivers, and tons of distractions, right around Christmas proves to be a very risky time to be on the road. Continue reading to get familiar with the most common holiday driving hazards. Then, implement the safe driving tips provided by our caring and passionate team at Carpenter & Czelusta.
The 5 Most Common Driving Hazards During the Holidays
1 | Tired Drivers
Everyone drives when they’re a little tired. However, after hearing this fact, you may think twice about getting behind the wheel when you’re sleepy—a fifth of all fatalities caused by a car accident involve drowsy driving.
This truth is less shocking when studies have shown that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Perhaps sleepy driving is worse because most people won’t realize how hazardous it really is. Even more alarming, the general rate of fatigue is only increasing as the years go on. The average person requires around seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Unfortunately, about 35% of modern Americans get far less than the minimal.
With the holiday season in full swing, you can expect the rate of fatigued driving to rise. With increased consumption of alcoholic beverages, heavy meals, and a busy schedule, most drivers are getting less rest than at any other time of year.
Not to mention, traveling and holiday stress can also increase tiredness. Even if a person sleeps adequate hours, sleep quality is likely to decrease, which is just as dangerous as a lack of sleep.
2 | Unfamiliarity
Some of the most dangerous holiday drivers are those unfamiliar with the area they are traveling in. This includes being unaccustomed to the roads, weather patterns, and location of the destination they are traveling to.
Driving in strange weather is one of the riskiest things one can do. For instance, if you’re traveling to an area with heavy snow and icy roads but live in a state where snow is rare, you’re putting yourself at risk. In fact, over half the streets in the United States are located in areas where it snows in the winter.
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about snow and ice here in Florida. However, there is always a chance for heavy rain, which can be disorienting for visitors and residents alike. Furthermore, Florida experiences a significant increase in tourists and out-of-towners during the holidays. It is critical to be more aware of unfamiliar drivers making sudden turns or last-second lane changes on the roads.
3 | Driving Under the Influence
It should be no surprise that many dangerous holiday drivers include those driving under the influence. People often drink more with the many holiday dinners and gatherings. Therefore, it is common to experience more drunk drivers on the roads.
4 | Holiday Stress
The holidays can be such a joyous and exciting time of year. But with this comes stress, whether it’s the good kind of stress or the bad kind. In general, people are busy and have lots on their minds during these hectic and festive months.
People experience stress on many different levels from all kinds of triggers that come along with the holiday season, like:
- Financial pressure
- Busy schedules
- Family stress
- Heightened emotions
Believe it or not, stress impacts one’s ability to drive. It can lead to fatigue, change in mood, anxiety, and even aggression. Stress can also cause risk-taking due to people not thinking as clearly as they usually do.
5 | Distracted Drivers
Dangerous holiday drivers may also be distracted drivers. Christmas time can prompt many distractions, like continuous phone calls and texts from family and friends, looking up directions to get from one place to another, and keeping up with all the excitement on social media.
While distracted driving can be caused by several things, like loud kids in the back seat or stunning Christmas decorations catching your eye, the biggest culprits are our smartphones. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and put your phone away while driving.
As the years go on, distracted driving becomes more of an issue. Don’t let distracted driving ruin your holidays. Do your part and stay focused on the road.
How Can You Stay Safe from Dangerous Holiday Drivers?
Staying safe from dangerous holiday drivers is equally about being aware of road hazards as it is about implementing smart driving yourself. Everyone on the road is responsible for protecting one another. Use the following tips to practice safe driving through the chaotic holiday season.
Take Care of Your Car
If you plan on doing a lot of winter traveling, it’s wise to schedule your car for a routine tune-up before the festivities are in full swing. First, taking care of any minor or major repairs you’ve been putting off is essential. However, no matter your vehicle’s condition, it’s smart to check the basics before hitting the road for holiday travel. Schedule an appointment with a trusted mechanic to inspect your oil, brakes, battery, tires, lights, and other essentials.
Leave Plenty of Space
You have a higher chance of preventing a sudden accident when you leave plenty of room between your car and other vehicles on the road. Maintaining a little cushion space can be challenging in holiday traffic which is often bumper-to-bumper. But paying extra attention and positioning yourself safely in traffic can genuinely save your life or another’s.
Eliminate All Distractions
Get rid of all possible distractions while driving by putting your phone away and setting up the GPS before driving. Additionally, if you need to adjust your GPS or answer a phone call or text, ensure your safety by pulling over.
Other passengers in the vehicle can also be a distraction. If you’re driving with kids, try giving them something to keep them occupied so their boredom or impatience doesn’t put you and others at risk.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
The holiday months can be exhausting for anyone. If you feel yourself getting tired while driving, make the wise call of pulling over to rest or increase your energy by taking a brisk walk. Similarly, if you know you are too drowsy to drive, ask for a ride from a family member or friend.
It’s also important to be aware of how long you are driving. Try not to go for longer than eight hours at a time to avoid fatigue and exhaustion. Pull over for the night or switch seats with a licensed passenger.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and others this Christmas is to drink responsibly. Know your limits and never risk driving when you question your safety. Furthermore, if you are hosting a holiday party with alcoholic beverages, keep your guests accountable and don’t hesitate to ask them to stay the night for their safety and the protection of others.
We’re Here to Help You Avoid Dangerous Holiday Drivers & More
If you or a loved one finds themselves in an accident during these hectic holiday months, know that the team at Carpenter & Czelusta is here to help. There’s nothing worse than dealing with a sudden crash at Christmas time. But with a dedicated and passionate team you can trust, your worries will melt away.
Call Carpenter & Czelusta to get the legal results you deserve. We look forward to working with you.