Statistics published by federal agencies show that car accidents significantly increase during certain holidays and holiday weekends. End-of-the-year holidays are especially dangerous. Data published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that an average of 300 people die in fatal car accidents each year during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Drunk driving, poor weather, vehicle maintenance issues, and distracted driving are only a few examples of factors that contribute to holiday deaths during this period. Fortunately, you can take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones if you plan to travel during the upcoming holidays. Our California car accident lawyers suggest considering the tips listed below.
Five Tips That Can Help Prevent Car Accidents During the Holidays
You should consider the following tips if you have travel plans at the end of December. These tips may help reduce the risk of an accident
- Be prepared. It is important to be prepared, especially if you have a long drive. Bring a first aid kit, jumper cables, an extra phone charger, warm clothing, water and snack foods. However, you should also make sure that your vehicle is prepared for a long drive. Consider having a maintenance check before departing on your journey. If your vehicle is in poor shape, it could exacerbate risks caused by poor weather or other hazardous road conditions. Finally, you should check the weather conditions along your route.
- Never drink and drive. If you plan to drink in excess at a holiday party, then prepare your travel arrangements to get back home ahead of time. You can schedule rideshare services to pick you up at a later time. Additionally, you could consider public transportation or a designated driver. It is also important to be on the lookout for drunk drivers during your trip. You can pull over somewhere safe to report drunk drivers.
- Avoid distracted driving. Texting and driving risks your life and the lives of other motorists. Always keep your eyes on the road and not on your phone. However, there are other forms of distracted driving that are also hazardous. You should avoid eating while driving, changing the radio, messing with your vehicle’s infotainment system or even having lengthy conversations with other passengers. Keep your focus on driving. Deadly hazards can materialize in a matter of seconds.
- Be well-rested. Drowsy driving is a major cause of accidents involving commercial and passenger vehicles. This is not surprising, given that sleep deprivation leads to deficits comparable to mild alcohol intoxication. Try to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep before departing on your trip. Never drink alcohol the night before a long drive, as it significantly reduces the quality of sleep. You should also consider avoiding certain over-the-counter or prescription medications, with the approval of your physician. Certain drugs can lead to extreme next-day drowsiness that can also increase the risk of an accident.
- Drive safely. Always wear your seatbelt, drive at the posted speed limits (or at a safe speed for current road conditions), avoid tailgating and do not give into road rage. Speeding, failing to wear a seatbelt and tailgating significantly increase your risk of causing a wreck. It is important to follow California driving laws during your journey. Receiving a ticket should be the least of your worries. State transportation safety laws exist to prevent serious car accidents.
About Our California Car Accident Lawyers
Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger is a Modesto personal injury law firm with experience handling various types of auto accident claims. You can reach the California car accident lawyers at Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger by dialing (209) 522-2211 or by using the contact form on our site.