During the holiday season, the roadways become a scary place to be on. Many factors create a perfect storm of hazards, from angry drivers trying to make it to stores before they close to buy gifts for Christmas, to winter storms slamming in and making the roads unsafe to drive on, to drunk drivers coming from holiday parties without a care in the world driving down the roads at high speeds. When you’re on the roads this winter, make sure you know exactly what to be on the lookout for.
Winter Weather Woes
During the winter, weather can spiral quickly out of control into a mess of horrible road conditions, setting off a series of cascading issues that cause car accidents. During the winter months, weather conditions can change very quickly, from sunny clear skies one moment to horrible storms the next.
Snow and Ice
The main hazards of the winter are snow and ice. Ice can be invisible, lying on the road unable to be spotted in time to be reacted to properly in some cases. Snow on the ground can have similar effects, and while it is visible, this itself can cause issues. Falling snow can cut visibility, meaning that the information you are able to react to gets reduced. When driving and dealing with ice and snow, slow down. It’s better that you arrive late than not arrive at all.
Consider making a winter preparedness kit for your car to ensure that no matter what the weather is, you’re prepared. Furthermore, make sure that if you head out on the roads, you know what the weather will be for the day. This allows you to better adjust to conditions on the road and prepare for any adverse weather that may occur while you are out driving.
During the holiday season, the roads become unsafe not just due to weather but also because of other drivers. The National Safety Council (NSC) collects data around holiday accident fatalities, and what it reveals is a massive safety issue: during major holidays such as New Year’s and Christmas, fatalities related to drunk driving spike. For example, the NSC data shows that in 2019, 28% of all traffic fatalities had an impaired driver involved in them. During Christmas Day, that number spikes to 38%, a massive increase.
Dealing with Drunk Drivers
When you’re on the roads this holiday season, you need to be aware of drunk drivers and make sure that your full attention is on the road. If you see vehicles that appear to be swerving, starting and stopping suddenly, or aren’t obeying the laws of the road, try to avoid them. Slow down and drop back behind them, or try to travel via an alternate route that avoids these drivers.
If you are planning to drink during a holiday party, secure an alternate way of getting to and from the party that isn’t your vehicle. Consider taking a rideshare or taxi or having a member of your social group designate one member as a sober driver.
Distracted Driving and Fatigued Driving
Likewise with impaired driving due to drinking, some drivers may be reading text messages, making phone calls, or adjusting their car’s media center while driving this holiday season. This is incredibly dangerous, as it prevents you from reacting to the road conditions when they change. When traveling, your attention should be fully on the road. Turn off your cell phone if possible, or silence the notifications.
Fatigued driving is also a major concern, with many people working overtime during the holiday season due to service or retail jobs and not getting adequate sleep. Fatigued driving can cause tunnel vision, delayed reaction time, and even microsleeps, where a person falls asleep for seconds at a time. There is no cure for fatigued driving besides getting a good night’s rest, so if you feel too tired to drive, don’t.
At Faraci Lange, LLP, we work to help victims of accidents. We know that severe injuries can arise when someone else is negligent on the road. We make it a point to help those in need, and our car accident attorneys go above and beyond to safeguard your rights. Let us give you a voice when someone else causes you harm during the holiday season.
For a free case evaluation, call our firm today at (888) 997-4110.