The month of December is a time many people associate with various holidays, and with festive good cheer for everyone. Unfortunately, December is also a time when car accidents increase by as much as 20 percent according to the Highway Loss Data Institute. In Palm Beach, and throughout South Florida, the risks will continue through the busy winter travel and tourism season. This increase seems bad enough, but things could actually be worse since there may be more parking lot crashes happening in December that never get reported to police or properly recorded.
December is a dangerous time for a lot of reasons, with certain days presenting a greater risk than others. Drivers need to be aware of the most dangerous days and of the top causes of crashes so that they can do everything possible to get safely through the holiday season and into the New Year.
Dangerous Driving Over the Holiday Season
According to the Washington Post, the six days surrounding December 25th are one of the most dangerous driving times of the entire year. While Thanksgiving weekend and New Years are typically associated with being dangerous times for motorists due to alcohol consumption and extra travel, the six days around Christmas Day actually have 18 percent more accidents than Thanksgiving and 27 percent more crashes than New Years.
The increase in accidents around this time of year is partly attributed to the fact that people tend to drive more aggressively during these days. State Farm Insurance has revealed that 32 percent of drivers become more aggressive during the holidays, with drivers under the age of 49 the most likely to be prone to angry holiday driving. Distracted driving accident lawyers in West Palm Beach know that the aggression can be explained by the fact that people tend to be angrier behind the wheel if they are feeling more stress in their lives.
A University of Alabama professor who studies holiday traffic reports that the added stress, and thus added aggression, comes from “the pressure of the holiday, the pressure of having to find something and running all over to find it.” Those who are out shopping, getting gifts and decorations and trying to fit everything in are likely to have their mind on other things and are likely to be in a hurry, which can lead to them pulling out in front of other drivers or cutting off other motorists so they can more quickly get to where they are going.
How to Stay Safe from Holiday Accidents
Avoiding an accident should be a top priority for every driver throughout the month of December. To help decrease your chances of getting in a crash:
- Know when the best (and worst) times to drive are. The Friday immediately before the Christmas holiday usually tends to be the worst day to be on the road, since this is a time when the roads are most crowded with drivers who are leaving work, who are traveling home and who are getting in last minute shopping or who are traveling to their holiday destination. Christmas day, on the other hand, tends to be the best day since most people are at home.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination, taking into account the extra traffic you are likely to face.
- Avoid getting angry. Remember that the holiday season is supposed to be fun and a time to show good will to your fellow man. Don’t cut people off and don’t let your aggression mount as you drive.
By following these tips, you can hopefully avoid accidents over the month of December and you can enjoy whatever holidays your family chooses to celebrate the season.