It is anticipated that more than 104 million holiday travelers will drive to their destinations this holiday season.
The National Safety Council estimates that 115 people may be killed and 13,100 seriously injured on roadways between 6 p.m. on December 24, and 11:59 p.m. on December 25.
Estimates for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day car crashes are even higher. 5 p.m. December 31 through 11:59 p.m. Jan. 1, 2020: 163 people could be killed, and another 18,600 seriously injured.
Three common-sense reminders for safe holiday driving
1. Drive sober.
Many of the car crashes over Christmas and New Year’s will be alcohol-related.
The holidays are a festive times and many take the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. Alcohol is a common part of the celebration. First and foremost, whether you’re driving home for Christmas or going out on the town for New Year’s Eve, buckle up and make sure your driver is sober.
Designate a sober driver, ride the bus, or use a carshare. See: Preventing drunk driving crashes.
2. Slow down.
In addition, winter weather conditions require greater care and attention to the roadways and to the surrounding areas. Rain, snow and ice conditions require reduced speeds and great stopping distances. Furthermore, traffic patterns change: there are likely to be more people driving long distances or in unfamiliar areas.
As my uncle use to say, “Don’t speed. It is better to get somewhere late, than not at all.”
3. Focus your attention.
Family and friends travel together more often during the holiday season. And drivers can be easily distracted by others in the vehicle. Remember that the most important task when you are driving is to focus on safety.
If you are a passenger, help your driver to stay alerted and focused. See: Distraction causes car crashes
Over the years, I have learned that a motor vehicle crash effects many more than those involved in the incident. Serious injuries and deaths caused by a crash alter the lives of not only the victims, but, also family, both immediate and extended, friends, and coworkers. No one wants to associate the holidays with a tragic event. Protect yourself, and protect others.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
– Attorney Kevin Coluccio