Many people choose to travel by car during the holidays.
Automobiles have the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation. Between the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays traffic on roadways increases substantially, as do traffic accidents and fatalities. According to the National Safety Council Injury Facts 2015, traffic fatalities during the three major year-end holidays were broken down as follows:
Christmas Day = 88 people killed
New Year’s Day = 343 people killed
Thanksgiving Day = 360 people killed
In addition to increased traffic on the roadways, the holidays also bring a greater chance of encountering an impaired driver. Impaired drivers are more frequently on the road after dark – particularly between midnight and 3 a.m. on weekends and the major holidays. And while drunk driving has declined since 2007, the number of drivers under the influence of drugs has increased. In 2014, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration conducted a roadside survey and found the prevalence of THC (found in marijuana) among weekend drivers has increased 48% since 2007.
So whether you are traveling across town, across the state or across the country, it is important to take note of these holiday driving tips from the National Safety Council.
- Avoid being out on the roads between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. – especially on weekends and holidays
- Use a designated driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; alcohol and drugs all cause impairment
- Make sure every person in the vehicle is properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance being traveled
- Don’t touch your phone, eat, drink or do other things that cause distractions; distracted driving causes one-quarter of all crashes
- Make sure the vehicle is properly maintained, and keep an emergency kit with you
- Be prepared for heavy traffic, detours, delays and possibly inclement weather
Matt Casey and Matt Devoti wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season.