Holidays are usually a time of socialization and celebration. The biggest holidays during the year tend to bring people together. People make travel plans and arrange to get together with their families and friends. Children and adults alike may look forward to certain celebrations and traditions all year.
What those excited about the next major holiday usually don’t stop to consider is how behaviors that drivers engage in around the holidays typically tend to result in a drastic increase in the number of crashes that occur. Severe collisions, including fatal drunk driving wrecks, tend to spike around the most popular holidays.
Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are among the most dangerous cold-season holidays, although Halloween sees more than its fair share of pedestrian crashes. The Fourth of July, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, also experience an increase in fatal wrecks. Why are the holidays such a safety concern on the roads?
Drivers on unfamiliar roads
One of the reasons that crash rates are higher around the holidays is that there are simply more people out on the road. Instead of their daily commute to work on a known route, they will instead travel a much less familiar path to a family member’s house or other location for a holiday party. The combination of unfamiliar surroundings and possibly the distraction of using navigation software can significantly increase the chances of a crash occurring.
Intoxication and fatigue
Many people involve alcohol in their holiday celebrations. From eggnog on Christmas and sparkling wine on New Year’s Day to beers while watching a football game after the meal on Thanksgiving, many of the most popular holiday traditions involve alcohol. People may then need to drive home after having too much to drink. Combine that alcohol consumption with fatigue from staying up late cooking or wrapping presents, and the possibility of a crash occurring is significantly higher than normal.
Whenever possible, it may be best for people to avoid traveling on holidays or on the weekends immediately before or after major holidays. Given that travel is often unavoidable if people want to celebrate with loved ones, however, motorists may “simply” need to prioritize safety more carefully during a holiday drive. Adjusting one’s habits for unique collision risks can help people stay a little safer during the holiday season.