Stay Safe this Holiday Season
Updated: Mar 26, 2021
The holiday season is a time for good cheer, food, drink, and family. Twinkling lights fill the streets and seasonal decorations charm each yard. But the holidays bring their own safety hazards.
Unfortunately, with the holidays also comes increased vehicle traffic and road safety issues. According to the National Safety Council, nearly 400 people died on U.S. roads on Christmas Day in 2018. To give you some perspective-- on average 90 people die in car accidents each day. That means Christmas has over a 300% increase in average traffic accident fatalities. The good news is that practicing holiday road safety saves lives, and allows you and your family to celebrate the season safely.
So, just why is the holiday season so dangerous in terms of road safety? Several key factors combine over the holidays to create the perfect storm and lead to increased accidents. Understanding these factors is the key to avoid contributing to them.
Factor #1: Impaired Driving
With the holiday season comes parties. There’s the usual extended family celebration, your own family’s holiday traditions, the work holiday party, the “friendsgiving,” and, of course, the New Year’s Eve parties. Most, if not all, of these gatherings involve some form of alcohol.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 70 percent of Americans reported drinking at some point in the last year-- that’s roughly 224.5 million people. Of these drinkers, 111 million reported driving drunk at some point in the past year. Clearly, there is no shortage of drunk drivers on our nation’s roadways. With the increase in holiday parties, there’s an average of a 35 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths on Thanksgiving, and a 41 percent increase over Christmas.
What You Can Do:
In order to celebrate safely, be sure to use a designated driver before getting behind the wheel drunk. Remember, just one beer can impair your driving abilities. Choose a designated driver before going out to a holiday celebration.
Factor #2: Stressed Drivers
Many people consider spending time with family crucial to finding happiness in life. However, spending time with family also means that the house has to be clean, the decorations perfect, and the food delicious. Your aunt will probably still comment on your interior decorating style and your drunk uncle may still drop a piece of fine china. So, while family time is wonderful, it can also really add some stress to your life.
As drivers are running from store to store to find the perfect turkey and pick up some last minute gifts, they’re more likely to drive recklessly and carelessly. This can involve going well over the speed limit on their way to the mall and distractedly answering the phone when Grandma rings to say Happy Holidays. A stressed driver is a more dangerous driver on the roadways.
What You Can Do:
Say no to distracted driving. Remember that a phone call or text message isn’t worth your life or someone else’s. Try your best to get a good night’s sleep. If you feel yourself becoming too overwhelmed with the responsibilities of the holiday season, just say no to additional holiday parties or added responsibilities.
The holiday season can be really hard on your mental health. If you’re having a crisis while driving, pull over in a safe area (not in a work zone!) and dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for immediate help.
Factor #3: Increased Vehicle Traffic
In 2019, more than 115 million Americans traveled for the Holidays, setting a new record for the number of travelers. The 2020 holiday season is probably not going to set new travel records, as statewide restrictions due to the novel coronavirus increase. However, you should still expect increased traffic as compared to your daily commute.
More vehicles on the roads mean more congestion and more opportunities for accidents. Combined with other factors, such as distracted driving, impaired driving, and fatigued drivers, increased traffic becomes more dangerous than just a few travel delays.
What You Can Do:
Be patient and pad your driving time significantly so you don’t have to rush. When you come to a work zone, slow down. In congested construction areas you can always expect the unexpected. Listen carefully to any flaggers you come across and be sure to give them plenty of room. After all, they don’t have a car protecting them.
Fatigued drivers significantly increase your risks of driving in heavy traffic. If you’re going on a long road trip, be sure to get enough sleep the night before. Take frequent rest breaks to avoid becoming fatigued. It’s recommended to avoid driving more than eight hours in one day. A 15-minute rest break every two hours can help you stay alert.
Holiday road safety hazards don’t have to ruin your season of celebration. By practicing appropriate road safety practices, you can significantly reduce your chances of accidents and injury for yourself and your family.
Directional Traffic Prioritizes Road Safety Every Holiday Season
A high-quality traffic flagging company can reduce congestion and increase safety for all drivers on the road. Well-trained flaggers develop a work zone plan that inhibits road traffic as little as possible, while prioritizing safety above all else.
At Directional Traffic, we pride ourselves on creating and maintaining well-run work zone areas that allow projects to be completed on time, the least frustration to drivers, and safe roadways for drivers and workers alike. If you need to hire a traffic flagging company this holiday season, contact Directional Traffic today.
Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!