The holidays are upon us. Historically, December just might be one of the most dangerous months to be on the road. This year, avoid these four most dangerous holiday driving hazards:
1. Distracted Driving. This includes driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting holiday messages to friends, coworkers and family. It also includes driving while checking out store hours, locations, and navigation apps using a smartphone.
2. Impaired Driving. Holiday dinners, parties and celebrations typically involve consumption of alcohol. An increase in the number of impaired drivers using the roadways during the winter holidays has been well-established by law enforcement, and the loss of life resulting from impaired driving is also well-established.
3. Pressured Driving. The winter holidays can bring with them increased pressures, the stress created by trying to do too much in a short time span. Drivers often react to these pressures by driving too fast for conditions, making aggressive lane changes, failing to yield right-of-way, and generally disregarding the needs and safety of others using the road.
4. Fatigued Driving. Increased demands and activities during the winter holidays often mean significantly reduced sleep schedules. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who slept 6-7 hours a night were twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.
Drive safely out there to help assure that you and the people you share the road with have a safe and happy holiday season.