How to Drive Safely While Traveling Over Christmas and New Year’s Day

car crash collision during winter travel

Have you ever been injured in a car accident while traveling during the holidays? If so, you’re probably aware of the increased risk of traffic accidents at this time. If not, you might consider yourself fortunate; the odds may be against you.

According to a U.S. Department of Transportation study cited by Forbes, Inc., since 1982 the average number of traffic fatalities that occur on Christmas Day is 414, of which 42 percent are alcohol-related. Respective numbers for New Year’s Day are 401 fatalities, 46 percent of which are alcohol-related. Speaking for the American Automobile Association (AAA), Robert Sinclair says the average number of traffic fatalities on any given day is around 102. However, due to the increased traffic and number of people who drink and party over the winter holidays, Christmas and New Year’s Day combined have become the most dangerous time of year for drivers.

Tips for Safe Traveling During the Winter Holidays

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), National Safety Council (NSC) and AAA offer tips for driving safely around Christmas and New Year’s Day.

If you want to drive safely, think safely. Check seat belts, infant seats, and make sure your vehicle is operating safely. More children between the ages of 1 and 12 die in car crashes than in any other way each year, so make sure your children — and all passengers — are buckled up properly. Car seats should be installed correctly and checked every time you use them.

Pay attention to the road. You’ve heard it before but the maxim has never been more true — or more important. According to Distraction.gov, in 2014, 431,000 people were injured in car crashes that involved a distracted driver. Turn your phone off, use navigation systems sparingly or plan your route ahead of time, and keep your eyes on the road.

Use a designated driver. Over-the-counter medicines, recreational drugs, and alcohol all cause driver impairment. Additionally, driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving drunk so let someone else take the wheel if you find yourself feeling sleepy when it’s time to hit the road.

Get a safety kit. Make sure you have jumper cables, a charged-up cell phone, first aid supplies and a snow shovel in your vehicle.

When You Drive Safely but Someone Else Doesn’t

If you adhere to recommended safe driving practices while traveling on Christmas and New Year’s but fall victim to another driver’s recklessness, you will likely need legal counsel and support. If you or any of your passengers are injured due to the negligence of another driver, you are entitled to make a claim for the damages you suffer. You may be compensated for medical bills, lost income including future wages, and even your pain and suffering.

Take extra care while traveling over Christmas and New Year’s to prevent a car crash, and keep your winter holidays happy. Remember, if you want to drive safely, think safely.