The four most dangerous holiday driving hazards

Updated December 10, 2018

It’s not officially winter, but wintery weather has already arrived. With rain in the valley and snow in the mountains drivers need to be extra careful when driving in inclement weather this holiday season. Did you know there are more motor vehicle deaths around the three to four days around each holiday? According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the few days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s Eve, an average of 304 people die in drunk driving crashes.
Driving when you are impaired or distracted is always dangerous; but add low visibility, rain, fog, and the pressures of the holiday season, and December just might be one of the most dangerous months to be on the road. According to one expert, the four most dangerous holiday driving hazards are:

  • Distracted driving - This includes driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting to friends, coworkers and family. Resist the temptation to use your smartphone to shop online, check out store hours, or get directions when driving.
  • Impaired driving - Year-end dinners, parties and celebrations typically involve consumption of alcohol, and in some cases, use of drugs. Also be careful with cold medication which can make you sleepy and impair your judgment.
  • Pressured driving -The winter holidays typically bring with them increased pressures, especially financial pressures and the stress created by trying to do too much in a short time span. Drivers often react to these pressures by driving too fast for conditions, making aggressive lane changes, failing to Tired woman drivingyield the right-of-way, and generally disregarding the needs and safety of others using the road.
  • Fatigued driving - Increased demands and activities during the winter holidays can often lead to sleep deprivation. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who slept 6-7 hours a night were twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.

Don’t let the stress and pressures of the holiday jeopardize you and your family’s safety out on the road. Put down that cell phone and give your full attention to driving. Make sure you don’t become a statistic this holiday season.

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