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Christmas Day Driving Can Reduce Accident Risks

Dec 25, 2015 - Car Accidents, Tuscaloosa by

With typical Alabama winter temperatures ranging between 50 and over 60 degrees, drivers in the state do not experience the extreme holiday weather conditions as those in the northern states. In 2013, Alabama Media Group reported information from a recent study by the University of Alabama’s Center for Advanced Public Safety. It showed that the days immediately prior to Christmas are among the most dangerous times on the road. Just about any Tuscaloosa auto injury lawyer would agree that the study’s findings remain just as true today.

A Variety of Different Traffic Patterns Affects Roadway Safety

Individuals who make daily commutes to and from work in major metropolitan areas might argue that these traffic conditions are the most congested. However, these drivers know and understand rush hour conditions and generally have the skills and experience to help anticipate and avoid accidents. Holiday drivers do not benefit from long-term experience and can be subject to risks such as the following:

  • Last-minute holiday shopping panic: With just a few days left to complete gift shopping, every minute counts. Rushed drivers are more likely to ignore speed limits and other driving laws. They also have a greater propensity for tailgating when they perceive that the driver in front of them is keeping them from completing their missions.
  • More night-time shoppers are now hitting the roads: From Black Friday and through to Christmas Eve, stores are open for business day and night. Night drivers, in particular, have little experience driving in heavy traffic after dark, and those who want to take advantage of special midnight sales are likely to drive drowsy. These conditions are a virtual invitation for often-serious traffic accidents.
  • Less-experienced and distracted long-distance travelers: People who travel greater distances solely during the holidays often travel new routes, which can cause them to make sudden lane changes and other maneuvers in an effort to get to exits and rest stops. Add a few restless children to the passenger list, and distractions abound.

Common Sense Tips for Staying Safe during Holiday Driving

Motorists can reduce the risk of holiday travel by reviewing these tips before heading out:

  • Choose off-hours for driving: Listen to traffic reports to find times when the roads are less congested and under better control. Drivers who choose late-night hours should take earlier naps to ensure that they are alert behind the wheel.
  • Take extra safe driving measures: The days immediately prior to the holidays require additional attention to the rules of the road. This might be a good time to avoid hands-free phone conversations or even one drink before hitting the road. Of course, seatbelts are a must.
  • Shop year-round or online: There is no rule that says individuals have to wait for the holiday season to begin shopping. If you see a perfect gift for a loved one during any time of year, buy it and store it until gift-wrapping time. For good deals, do not forget about Cyber Monday to shop from home. Many online vendors also accommodate shoppers by providing last-minute shipping lead-times.
  • Choose Christmas day for road trips: Even if it seems a bit more rushed, Christmas day is a good time for travel because most drivers have already arrived at their destinations.

With gas prices significantly lower than they were at this time in 2014, holiday drivers can expect more company on the road for short- and long-distance trips. Unfortunately, drivers cannot control other drivers, so remain watchful and drive defensively.

Additional Resources:

Alabama Traffic Crash Facts

Other Blog topics:

The Risks of Backover and Parking Lot Accidents During the Holiday Season, Tuscaloosa Car Accident Blog

Birmingham Accident Risks Increase as Holidays Approach, Birmingham Car Accident Blog

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