December 2020 - The Road to a Safe Holiday Season
The holidays may look a little different this year, but what won’t change is the increased risk for accidents drivers face during this season. There are typically more cars on the road now and more distractions taking drivers’ minds off the task at hand – namely, to arrive at their destination safely. Here’s a look at four top driving hazards to watch for as we approach the holidays.
Distractions – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that distracted driving resulted in 2,841 deaths in 2018. Drivers are more distracted this time of year as they call or text holiday greetings to friends and family or use their cellphones to search out directions or shopping information.
Alcohol and/or Drugs – The NHTSA says that alcohol-related accidents result in two to three times more fatalities during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of year and account for some 25,000 injuries. Increased alcohol and drug consumption at year-end celebrations contributes to this.
Stress – The holidays bring added stress to most of us whether we’re facing increased financial pressures or simply stressed over having too much to do in too little time. Stress driving occurs when drivers react to this pressure with unsafe behaviors, such as driving aggressively or speeding with no regard for weather or traffic conditions.
Fatigue – With so much to do to prepare for and celebrate the holidays, it’s no wonder many of us are sleep deprived. A study by AAA found people who sleep for six or seven hours a night are twice as likely to have an accident than someone who sleeps for eight or more hours. Cut that down to five or fewer hours of sleep and the likelihood of an accident is four to five times greater.
The holidays are hectic, so it isn’t uncommon for drivers to experience one or more, if not all, of the above hazards; but, as the saying goes, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Wishing you and your family a safe holiday season and a healthy, prosperous New Year!