You might think that the biggest danger you face during the holiday season is an expanding waistline – but it’s really one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. If you’re a U.S. resident who is under 54, you’re more likely to be killed in a car wreck than by anything else.
The holidays can be particularly rough on drivers for a multitude of reasons. Schedules generally get busier, so drivers are tired. A lot of people end up traveling out of town for family events, so they end up on unfamiliar roads. Snow and ice storms can be unpredictable, making the streets harder to navigate.
What can you do to make holiday driving safer?
This is a good time to brush up on your defensive driving skills. During the holiday season, you need to adjust your usual strategies just a bit. This means:
- Plan your trips in advance. Whether you’re going to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or you’re just going to brave shopping at the mall, plan your trip so that you’re not trying to drive when you’re stressed out, exhausted from a long day’s work or rushed because you didn’t leave extra time for traffic.
- Focus harder than ever on the road. Everybody gets distracted once in a while, but allowing your eyes or mind to wander away from the road ahead of you while you’re driving can be a disaster. Put cellular phones on mute, leave the radio alone and tell your passengers to be quiet, if need be.
- Avoid putting yourself in harm’s way with alcohol. Alcohol plays a big role in a lot of winter festivities – but make sure that you never imbibe and drive. When possible, try to stay off the roads on known “party nights” in your area and when the bars are closing.
Despite your best efforts to mitigate the danger you’re in, you may still end up in a wreck this winter. If that happens, it’s wise to find out more about what it takes to get fair compensation for your injuries and other losses.