The month of December is one of the most dangerous times of the year for Providence-area drivers. The snow and ice make for slippery road conditions. The shorter days result in limited visibility and increased drowsiness.
What makes the holiday season particularly dangerous is the uptick in negligent driving habits. We all know that the holidays can be both cheerful and dreadful -- the pressure to plan celebrations, to complete shopping, and to drink can make drivers behave in ways they don't normally do.
How dangerous is driving during the holiday season?
The National Safety Council estimates that during the Christmas period (which starts at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve and runs through 11:59 p.m. Christmas Day), roughly 422 traffic fatalities may occur across the United States.
During the New Year's period (which starts at 6 p.m. New Year's Eve and runs through 11:59 p.m. New Year's Day), the NCS estimates that 438 deaths may occur.
National statistics show that on Christmas, drunk driving is the cause of 32 percent of all traffic fatalities. On New Year's it's the culprit behind 36 percent of road deaths.
In addition, more than a third of all December traffic fatalities occur in the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
What are the four most common holiday driving hazards?
An EHS Today article identifies four key driving hazards to watch out for this holiday season. These include:
- Distracted driving: Cellphone use behind the wheel is a problem during all times of the year. During the holidays, however, drivers are more likely to send texts, make calls, and browse the web for products and store hours.
- Impaired driving: For most adults, drinking is a staple at many holiday parties, dinners, and year-end celebrations. Sadly, many people who have had too much to drink feel confident getting behind the wheel.
- Pressured driving: People tend to be more stressed out during the holidays than at any other time of year. This can translate into aggressive driving, speeding, erratic maneuvers, and even road rage.
- Fatigued driving: With the increased holiday demands, adequate sleep is no longer a priority for many people.
It's nearly impossible to avoid being in the presence of another driver who is behaving carelessly or erratically. If you see another driver swerving, speeding, tailgating, making abrupt lane changes, or acting in an aggressive manner, it's best to keep a safe distance.
Should you be hurt in a crash this holiday season, it's critical that you understand your rights. The injuries you sustain in a crash require immediate medical attention and, many times, long-term treatment. An experienced Providence car accident attorney can help you recover medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages by helping you build a solid legal claim.
To learn more, contact the Law Office of Mark B. Morse.