Though holidays are meant to be celebratory, in some ways, they’re just plain work. Preparing meals, buying gifts and spending extended time with family can be draining. The last thing you need to deal with during this busy period is a car accident.
And yet, holidays consistently show higher rates of car accidents and resulting fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). So, what is it about the holidays that wreaks havoc on the roads?
An abundance of alcohol
An ever-contributing factor to danger on the roadways is alcohol. Whether you’re attending holiday parties, taking advantage of restaurant and bar specials or going with social norms at family gatherings, the push to drink in celebration heightens during this time of year.
When those who have been drinking more than usual at these functions choose to drive before it’s safe, accidents happen. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 300 people die each year between Christmas and New Years in a drunk-driving accident.
Accidents caused by speeding or reckless driving are also likely during the celebratory season. Every year, shoppers can be seen racing to buy gifts or scrounging preparatory meal ingredients at the last second.
Likewise, those who don’t plan for holiday traffic or allow themselves enough time to reach long distances may rush to arrive for holiday plans on time. Without careful and cautious consideration to the road, it’s easy for crashes to occur.
Statistically, the risk for a crash increases with the more opportunity there is. During the holiday season, the roads are full of drivers as most people take time away from work to join family and friends.
This risk may heighten further if drivers from out of town are unfamiliar with the traffic patterns or distracted by a navigation device.
However, most accidents happen within 25 miles of your home. In fact, the NHTSA has reported that in 2013 almost 3,000 more car crash fatalities happened on rural roads, rather than downtown city streets.
During the holidays, drivers who feel familiar with the streets of their own neighborhood are more likely to become distracted by the flashing lights and large displays decorating yards. If your eyes aren’t on the road, your vehicle could easily strike something or someone.
A plan to prevent crashes
Because of the issues discussed, police know that the roads can be more dangerous during the holidays. That’s why every year, Mississippi launches increased enforcement initiatives over the Christmas/New Year’s Eve holiday period.
If you’re injured in an accident over the holidays, make sure to call the authorities and get a police report on what happened as soon as possible. Next, contact an attorney with experience in these matters for help recovering damages. During this expensive time of year, you should do all you can to keep a negligent driver from costing you.