Driving during the holiday season is something that many people across the nation participate in year after year. While 2020 has understandably made the holidays significantly different when it comes to travel during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many still anticipate being on the road in December. With this in mind, it’s important to note that holiday travel can actually be particularly dangerous in some parts of the country, including in Texas. Understanding the accident trends that occur during the winter months and what drivers should look out for before hitting the road is incredibly important to ensuring safe travels during the holiday season.
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Deadly Trends for Holiday Drivers
The coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly affect the amount of car accidents that occur during the holiday season. The latest data available on holiday driving and accidents details the deadly trends that drivers should be aware of if they plan to travel this year.
While Mississippi tops the list of the deadliest states in America when it comes to holiday travel, Texas also makes the list for its share of incidents that occur during the holiday season. According to ValuePenguin, the holiday motor vehicle fatality rate per 100,000 people in Texas is 1.58 or 158,000 people. There are many different factors that contribute to these fatalities, including the time of day, alcohol or drug consumption, speed, and distractions.
For instance, driving under the influence is a factor in 36% of Christmas travel driving deaths. Researchers have found that higher blood alcohol content (BAC) levels increase the likelihood of vehicle fatalities over the holiday season. Vehicle fatalities associated with impairment increase by 26% during this time when compared to the average during non-holiday driving times.
Additionally, 64% of holiday driving fatalities occur at night. This is likely because driving at night compounds other risks, including weather-related limited visibility, the higher potential for colder and icy conditions, and an increase in the number of drivers under the influence of alcohol or other substances due to excessive holiday celebrations.
How Drivers Can Stay Safe During the Holidays
With this information in mind, it’s important that those who plan to travel during the holiday season stay aware of the many dangers they could encounter on the road. Some of the most important things for drivers to keep in mind during the 2020 holiday season include:
When making the decision to drive out of town or out of state this holiday season, it’s important to have a plan in place before leaving home. While COVID-19 regulations should be followed, drivers should also plan to have their car serviced well before the start date of their trip. Oil, fluids, and tires should all be checked to ensure a potential breakdown is not imminent; and, items like jumper cables and tire jacks should be in tow in case of an emergency. Additionally, it’s important that drivers allow for ample time to get to their destination in order to avoid being in a rush and potentially speeding in poor weather conditions.
KNOW THE ROUTE
Drivers should familiarize themselves with the route they plan to travel prior to making a lengthy holiday trip. This is particularly important for those who may be driving somewhere unfamiliar to them. Additionally, drive time is incredibly important when calculating the route as well. Drivers should be aware of when they may be hitting peak traffic times to avoid potential congestion on the road.
UTILIZE DEFENSIVE DRIVING TECHNIQUES
Increased traffic and poor weather conditions can be incredibly frustrating when it comes to holiday driving. Because of this, it’s important that drivers put the safety of others first by allowing impatient or aggressive drivers to pass them in order to have better control over the situation. Engaging with aggressive drivers can only turn a stressful situation into a potentially deadly one.
Distractions on the road can be incredibly tempting, even for those planning a solo holiday trip. Everything from smartphones and the radio to snacks can pose distracted driving risks. In order to travel safely, drivers should avoid using smartphones or engaging in other distracting activities – such as eating or being preoccupied with others – in the car when behind the wheel.
DON’T DRIVE IMPAIRED
Unfortunately, the holiday season often leads to an increase in alcohol use, which can result in impaired driving. No one should get behind the wheel while they are impaired, as it can have dire consequences for others on the roads. Because of this, having a designated driver or avoiding driving at all after drinking can help you stay safe during the holidays.
Stay Safe This Holiday Season
Although the holidays are quite different this year, it’s incredibly important that those traveling during the winter months are safe when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, however, the unexpected can happen at any time. When a negligent driver causes a deadly accident, it can leave victims unsure of what their options are. At Ramsey Law Group, we will investigate your claims to establish liability, collect evidence to prove your case, and ensure you get the most financial compensation possible for your injuries. Contact our Houston personal injury attorneys today for more information on how we can best assist you.