According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most traveled holiday of the year is Thanksgiving weekend. It’s not surprising that the most DUI arrests of the year are made between Thanksgiving and the end of New Year’s Day since social binge drinking is fairly common during this period. Between Christmas and the new year, the average number of fatalities involving alcohol rises 34%.
Whether it’s trying to find some last minute gifts, rushing to be at multiple social gatherings on the same night, or sipping on a hot toddy before getting behind the wheel, driving when you’re overtired, distracted or impaired is always risky. When you add in winter weather and low visibility, holiday driving can be downright dangerous. Here are some bad driving behaviors we need to avoid during the holidays.
1. Impaired Driving
With all the parties and gatherings among your work, family and friends, it’s hard to avoid being tempted by a celebratory drink or two. But if you are driving, just take a pass. In most states, there are law enforcement officers safeguarding the roads with zero tolerance for any blood alcohol level during the holidays. If you consume any amount of alcohol before driving, you’re probably not the best judge of whether you’re impaired or not. Also, even if your blood alcohol level is within the legal limit, law enforcement could pull you over for a random check and you can receive a hefty fine. It isn’t worth the risk to your driving record or to anyone’s safety. Call an Uber if you imbibe!
During the holiday period, there is a lot of stress to get a lot done in a short amount of time. You want the holidays to be perfect and you don’t want to let anyone down! This could result in speeding or aggressive driving in wintry conditions. Slow down and take your time.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is not limited to phone calls or texting while driving. It also includes Google mapping store hours and locations, and trying to navigate to all the destinations required to complete your to-do list. Make sure that you are safely parked off the road while researching your next stop.
4. Overtired Driving
All the social activities and extra demands on your time during the holidays could leave you somewhat sleep deprived, or at least have you sleeping less than your body is used to. Studies have found that people sleeping less than 5 hours in a night have an increased risk 4 to 5x to be involved in a car accident compared to people sleeping 8 hours or more at night.
It’s not entirely uncommon for someone to exhibit any or all of these dangerous driving behaviors during the holiday season, so it’s important for us all to be aware and diligent to make the roads safer for everyone.