The holidays are an especially busy time for traveling. With more people on the road, it’s important to be prepared for any additional hazards that may be a risk to your safety while driving.
According to a USA Today article, an estimated 107.3 million people were expected to be traveling to celebrate year-end holidays in 2017. This year may expect even more. While there are exterior hazards (such as weather hazards, vehicle hazards and construction hazards) to be cautious of, some of the most dangerous hazards people face during this time of year tend to be caused by the driver, including:
Every year during the holidays, hundreds of lives are lost unnecessarily due to impaired driving. Transportation.org reports that in the past 5 years, an average of 300 people have died in drunk-driving crashes in the United States during the week between Christmas and New Year.
To help keep you and your family as safe as possible while on the road this holiday season, make sure to be sober before getting behind the wheel, and be on the watch for drivers who appear impaired while you’re driving.
Another contributor to auto accidents during the holiday season is pressured driving. This season is notorious for being financially and emotionally stressful, which is often taken out on the road while traveling in the form of:
- Aggressive lane changing
- Tailgating other cars
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Ignoring unsafe weather conditions
- Running red lights
Plus, with all of the many holiday parties and celebrations hosted by work, family and friends, there’s a lot of pressure to attend it all—which can also contribute to unsafe driving.
One way to help prevent you from driving under too much pressure is to plan out your holiday schedule as best as possible, giving you and your family enough time to get to where you need to go, as well as try not to squeeze in too many events into a short span of time.
Fatigued driving can happen any time of year, but it’s especially prevalent around the holidays. Between attending holiday parties, buying and wrapping gifts, traveling to visit family, working late to finish projects before the leaving for the holidays, and much more, it’s easy to find yourself extremely fatigued during this busy season.
To help prevent fatigued driving, AAA recommends that drivers:
- Avoid heavy foods
- Travel at times of the day when people are normally awake
- Avoid medications that cause drowsiness or other impairment
- Schedule a break every two hours or every 100 miles
- Travel with an alert passenger and take turns driving
- Do not underestimate the power of a quick nap; pulling into a rest stop and taking a quick catnap (at least 20 minutes and no more than 30 minutes of sleep) can help to keep you alert on the road
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016 alone. This can include anything that takes the driver’s focus from the road, including:
- Texting or making a phone call
- Talking to other passengers in the car
- Adjusting temperature controls
- Choosing music or other audio to play during the drive
- Using a smartphone or other device to search for store hours or locations
- Eating and/or drinking while driving
- Checking your GPS or navigation system
- Putting on makeup or grooming
- Taking a photo or video
A good rule of thumb for avoiding distracted driving is to handle as much as possible prior to putting your foot on the gas pedal. Have your GPS ready to go, have your music or podcast set, let a passenger answer any calls or respond to any texts, stop for eating breaks, etc.
What to Do If an Accident Happens Anyway
Although we can do a lot to help avoid auto accidents during these high-traffic, highly dangerous times of driving, accidents can and will always happen anyway.
If you believe you or a loved one was involved in an auto accident in South Florida caused by another driver doing any of the above, contact The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen today. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys are here to help you determine the best next steps to take to get you the recoveries you deserve.
Learn more about The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen and how we can help you by scheduling a free consultation or calling 1-800-33-COHEN now.