It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but it’s also a time when driving accidents are more likely to occur. Below we’re going to cover why you need to be careful around other drivers this Christmas season, what safety precautions to take, and what to do if you get hurt.
Why More Accidents Happen around Christmas
Rainy conditions create low visibility and slick streets and sidewalks, which often lead to both driving and pedestrian accidents.
Uptick in traffic
With so many people out shopping and attending parties, more people are on the road. Busier roads equal more opportunities for accidents to occur.
Crowded parking lots
Many accidents happen in busy parking lots, when people don’t take the time to look around before backing up. Additionally, cars can collide in extremely full parking lots because it may be harder to see around the rows of vehicles.
More shoppers on foot
This time of the year isn’t kind to pedestrians. Hurried drivers don’t always carefully watch for foot traffic at crosswalks and in parking lots. With more people out on the weekends, the pedestrian death rate rises. Also, New Year’s Day is the most dangerous day to be a pedestrian – more pedestrians die on that day than any other during the year.
Extended shopping hours and more restaurant gatherings mean exhausted workers are headed home later than usual. Pair that with the fatigue too many of us struggle with on a daily basis anyway and you’ve got a recipe for more accidents.
Distracted by light displays
Who doesn’t love to stare at the beautiful light displays on dark winter evenings? Yet problems arise when drivers pay more attention to light displays than the vehicles or pedestrians around them. Every year, other drivers are rear-ended or sideswiped due to drivers being mesmerized by Christmas light displays.
Travelers hit the highways to visit family and friends over the holidays. When they enter unfamiliar areas, their sudden stops, turns, and lane merges can create big problems for other drivers.
In Florida we have a disproportionate share of elderly drivers on the road. During the Christmas season, some elderly drivers risk driving to buy gifts even if they don’t regularly drive. Their slower responses and impaired judgment can present risks to other drivers.
Drivers with stiff necks or sore backs may not pivot fully to see oncoming traffic. People with poor vision may be out and about more often this season for similar reasons as those mentioned for seniors above. Some people are on medication that impairs their ability to drive, yet they get on the road anyway. All these health concerns increase accident risk.
With more people attending social events where alcohol is served this time of year, the number of drunk driving crashes and fatalities spikes. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day are two of the highest ranked days for alcohol-related crash deaths. Forty percent of vehicle-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s are caused by drunk driving. Alcohol also contributes to a higher number of pedestrian deaths this time of year.
Precautions You Should Be Taking
These tips will keep you safer this holiday season. Put them in place so you can enjoy yourself without worrying too much about getting hurt.
- Check that your windshield wipers are in good working order.
- Always wear your seat belt.
- Drive alert. Put all distractions away, including your phone. Let someone else change the radio settings. Resist the temptation to eat, read, or groom yourself behind the wheel.
- When driving through a light display, keep your eyes on the road.
- Leave a little earlier to keep yourself from speeding or tailgating, and to adjust for extra traffic.
- In construction zones, make sure to obey posted speed limits.
- When shopping, follow the same traffic rules you do on the road.
- Make sure to look in every direction before backing up.
- If you’re fatigued, don’t take a risk by driving. It can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
- When attending a party, plan ahead for a designated driver or cab ride.
- Pace yourself if you rarely drink. Your low tolerance for alcohol could make you too drunk to drive faster than you realize.
- As a pedestrian, look both ways multiple times, and always use crosswalks rather than jaywalking. In parking lots, stay especially alert.
If You Do End Up Getting Hurt
Whether you experience injury as a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, you can seek damages for your injuries. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to look over the facts of your situation, tell you how strong your case is, and let you know what options are available to you.
Contact us today to discuss the details of your case in a free initial consultation.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.