According to the Andy Williams song, we are in “the most wonderful time of year.” The holiday season is a time for shopping, celebrations and visiting family and friends. Did you know though that it is also the most dangerous time of year to be a motorist on the road? The increase of vehicles on local and state highways during this busy time leads to an increase in serious accidents as well.
Some of the leading factors contributing to crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are inclement weather including snow and ice, fatigued drivers traveling long distances, drivers rushing to get to their destination and, most often, drivers under the influence of alcohol. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drunk drivers are responsible for close to 40% of auto accident fatalities at Christmas time, with the number climbing to over 50% on New Year’s Day. While those numbers are astounding, there are still many other obstacles on the road during the holidays. It is beneficial to know the steps that can be taken to help avoid them.
Before packing the family into the car for your holiday road trip, here are things you should know to ensure everyone arrives safely. AAA recommends the following when planning a long distance trip:
- check your tires: underinflated tires can affect performance and fuel economy while tires with worn out tread are more prone to skidding since they can’t grasp the road properly
- check your windshield wipers and wiper fluid: wiper blades get worn out by snow, rain, ice and other road debris causing them to streak on the windshield and impede vision
- check your battery’s power and look for signs of corrosion on the battery and battery cables
- map out an alternate route ahead of time and check weather conditions to avoid using your phone while driving
Once you are on your way, there are a few things to also keep in mind. Stay alert with your focus on driving at all times. Distractions can easily happen with a number of people in the car. Slow down and avoid using cruise control during wet driving conditions in order to have better control of your car. Be sure to designate a driver if you will be drinking alcohol.
Taking precautions while behind the wheel this holiday season is something you can do to protect yourself and your family. Unfortunately, not everyone will be as proactive. With so many vehicles on the road, accidents and crashes will still occur. If you or someone you love is injured while traveling, the driver responsible should be held accountable. Contact an experienced attorney at Finz & Finz, P.C., to stand up for you against these careless drivers.