Christmas and the December holidays are many people’s favorite time of the year. It’s an opportunity to take a break from another hectic year, spend time with friends and family, and even take that long-awaited holiday or trip. While many travelers fill up our airports by venturing overseas, there’s an extraordinary number staying on land, venturing to holiday destinations or friends and family across the state or country.
At Anderson Behel in Santa Clara, CA we want to wish you a Happy (and safe) Holiday Season and New Year!
Safe holiday driving
In the US, the holiday season kicks off a little earlier than other countries like Australia. Thanksgiving (fourth Thursday of November) is often referred to as the beginning of their holiday period and is, in fact, one of the most dangerous times of the year to drive.
In countries where Christmas falls during winter, the combination of heavier traffic with unfavorable weather conditions like rain, sleet, and snow, and the decisions drivers make on the roads suddenly become riskier. This is why we are inundated with pleas from our emergency services every year to practice safe holiday driving. Further, these holiday periods are a fantastic opportunity for college students to travel long distances to return home.
Drink-driving is just one cause of accidents during these holiday periods; younger, inexperienced drivers become susceptible to distractions and drowsiness when they are driving long stretches of road to get home in time for the holidays.
Why are the holidays, such a dangerous time on our roads?
Celebrations, parties, and festivities are all part of the holiday season. There’s no doubt it’s a valued time of the year… who doesn’t love spending time with friends and family and getting a well-deserved break from the office? But that extra eggnog might be enough to push you into an official drink-driving range, and you can bet your Christmas presents that the cops will be out in full force to fight against drink driving. If you know you’re going to be drinking or are easily tempted into a couple of celebratory drinks; there’s nothing wrong with that. But be smart: arrange transport or a designated driver, or plan in advance to stay the night nearby.
The holiday season sometimes makes us a little frantic. We feel there’s so much to do (buying presents, organising food, and packing for the family are just three of many things!) that it’s easy to feel like we’re rushing through the entire season.
As a result, people tend to rush to their destinations. They get easily agitated at traffic, weather, and other obstacles hindering their journey.
Now, depending on where you’re located, the weather during December will vary considerably.
In the northern hemisphere, drivers can come face to face with extreme winter conditions, including snow, heavy rains, sleet, and ice. These dangerous conditions can result in drivers facing dangerous driving decisions.
Down in the southern hemisphere, drivers are often battling with hot and humid weather and fairly frequent tropical storms. What’s more, long stretches of monotonous roads on desolate highways result in droopy eyelids, yawning, and head jerks.
Prepare yourself for your long-distance drive. Ensure the car is packed, and clothes are ready well in advance. Knowing you won’t have to get up earlier than necessary for last-minute packing means you can start your journey fully rested with a good night’s sleep. Enjoy a hearty breakfast before you leave, and keep a big bottle of water handy at all times. You should also plan ahead (especially if you’re driving in unfamiliar territory) by looking up suitable rest stops throughout your trip.
You should be stopping for a minimum of 15 minutes at least every two hours, and if possible, take advantage of driver swaps.
Research conducted in the US found that drivers under the age of 30 are a greater risk on the road than any other driver. Further, the research showed that the most dangerous group is males aged 16-29.
Inexperience and distracted driving are two factors affecting road safety and combined with holiday travel (long hours on the road, increased traffic, and perhaps difficult weather conditions) make driving during the holidays one of the riskiest times of the year for teens and young adults.
Sources: NHTSA, AARP and DMV.org