The month of December is known for its holidays, but unfortunately the month also has another dubious honor as well: it is one of the most dangerous times of the year for auto accidents. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, claims for car accident damage go up by 20 percent in the month of December. This dramatic increase may not reflect the total number of car accidents around the holidays either, since there are a lot of parking lot crashes around this time of year that are never reported to police and insurance companies.
An experienced car accident lawyer in Galveston knows that many of these crashes are caused by bad driver behavior. These accidents don’t have to happen. Before you get into the car this holiday season, you should follow some simple advice for protecting yourself and your loved ones and reducing the risk of a crash.
Reducing Traffic Accident Risks During the Holidays
One of the most important ways to reduce the risk of becoming involved in a holiday traffic accident is to understand why these accidents happen.
December traffic accidents are the worst during a six-day period that surrounds December 25th. These six days have 18 percent more traffic crashes than on Thanksgiving weekend and 27 percent more traffic accidents than on New Years Eve (both Thanksgiving and New Years are also high risk accident days because there are many travelers on the road, a good portion of whom enjoyed holiday drinks).
This six-day period is often a frenzied time when people are out buying gifts or trying to get home to their family celebration as they sit in traffic. There are more drivers on the road during this six-day period, and those drivers who are out often are distracted by thoughts of family and festivities and may make dangerous choices like cutting in front of someone or pulling out without looking.
Drivers during the entire month of December, but especially the days surrounding December 25th, are also likely to be stressed out because of the holiday pressure. Stress is not a good thing for drivers, as around a third of all drivers have said that they become more aggressive on the roads when under holiday stress. As the Washington Post reports, a recent State Farm Insurance Survey showed that 32 percent of drivers are more likely to increase their aggression in December, and the groups that are most prone to driving while angry are parents and are drivers younger than age 49.
Unfortunately, these angry drivers put everyone at risk. To avoid increasing the dangers of a holiday accident, drivers should:
- Stay calm and avoid giving into anger. It won’t make traffic move any faster and it will increase the chances of a car accident.
- Pay extra attention to other drivers on the road and watch for signs of intoxication, drowsiness or aggression.
- Try to drive on days when the roads will be better. The Friday before Christmas is expected to be the worst day to drive, while both December 24th and December 25th may be safer times on the road.
By staying calm, leaving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and avoiding driving drunk, you can hopefully avoid becoming the victim of a December car crash.
By: Gene Hagood