By Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I
As the holiday season continues to ramp up, it’s important to remember that this time of year is particularly risky for driving. That’s why December has been officially designated Drugged and Drunk Driving Prevention month.
During the Christmas holidays, alcohol-impaired fatalities in 2018 comprised 37 percent of total traffic fatalities, compared to 29 percent total for all times of the year. In total, there are more than 750 fatalities in December due to drunk driving, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
According to National Safety Council, the average number of traffic deaths during New Year’s Day over the last five holidays is almost 68 percent greater than the average number of traffic deaths during nonholiday periods, with 175 deaths compared to the usual 104 deaths.
Drunk driving is not the only reason people get into dangerous accidents during the holidays. Extreme weather can also contribute to risks during the blustery winter season, including snow, black ice, high winds and hail. Fatigued and stressed driving is also an issue during the holidays, with individuals potentially traveling further than they usually do. And in 2020, anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic may make these stress-related issues worse.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember some tips to remain safe while driving during the holiday season, including:
- Drive defensively by taking precautions while driving, paying close attention to the cars around you. Even if you’re not drinking or driving recklessly, others may be.
- Do not drive if you are drinking, making sure you have safe, sober transportation, regardless of how far you’re traveling.
- Plan for inclement weather by checking weather forecasts and changing your plans if necessary.
Remember: the holidays can be a busy and stressful time for people, but that’s no reason to let your guard down while driving.
For more safe driving tips check out this Triple-I video.