Due to the increased likelihood of drunk driving and adverse road conditions, winter holidays always carry an extra risk of car accidents. This year, warns the auto advocate AAA, that danger could be even more pronounced, as more drivers are committed to traveling long distances thanks partially to an improved economy. This year, AAA predicts, 92.3 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their homes, a boost of 3 million over last year’s Christmas holiday period.
Depending on weather conditions, more crowded roads often means more car accidents over the holidays. Over Thanksgiving last month, for example, AAA warned that 11.4 percent more Americans were traveling compared to the year before. In response, GJEL managing partner Andy Gillin said that holiday weekends mark “the time of year when everyone is finally able to take needed time off from work and travel with family either by auto or airplane. It’s more important than ever for motorists to be smart when driving on the nation’s roads and follow basic safety guidelines.”
In 2008 (the last year with reliable data available), 40 people were killed and 2,109 people were injured in car accidents in California alone. Of those, 23 fatalities and 431 injuries were the result of alcohol-involved collisions.
There are a number of additional actions you can take to ensure that you reach your destinations safely this holiday season. First of all, always drive defensively and resist the urge to fiddle with gadgets like cell phones and GPS systems while driving. In addition to the potential for auto accidents, distracted driving carries an enormous risk of pedestrian accidents with consumers hitting the streets to pick up gifts. And just in case something happens, print out our car accident checklist, with a step-by-step list of what needs to happen after a car accident, to keep in your glove box.
Have a fantastic Holiday season, and remember to drive safe!
Photo credit: fotonomous