The holiday season is a time for family and friends to congregate, share gifts, and celebrate the year's end. If you're planning on traveling or hitting the road for a day of shopping, be aware of the roadway risks that come with the season.
The "most wonderful time of the year" can also be one of the most dangerous for drivers. Here's why.
Drunk driving increases during the holidays
For many adults in Maine, kicking back a few beers or drinking a glass of wine is a holiday staple. It only becomes a problem when someone makes the decision to drive after drinking too much.
During the holiday season, police work tirelessly to keep drunk drivers off the road, but they can't be everywhere all the time.
According to national statistics, drunk driving is the cause of 32 percent of traffic fatalities on Christmas and 36 percent on New Year's. During the month of December in 2017, approximately 885 people died in drunk driving crashes across the United States. More than one-third of all December traffic fatalities occurred between Christmas and New Year's.
Even when drivers are within the legal blood alcohol content below 0.08 percent, they can experience impaired reaction time, loss of judgment, and poor coordination.
There is an increase in traffic congestion
Traffic congestion isn't necessarily a cause of car accidents. It can play a role in crashes caused by drunk driving, aggressive driving, or distracted driving.
For example, when traffic on the freeway suddenly slows down or comes to a stop, an inattentive driver may cause a high impact rear-end collision. An aggressive driver weaving through traffic may cause a lane-departure crash.
In addition, when road conditions are slippery due to snow and ice, devastating pileups can occur on high-speed roadways.
Holiday stress leads to aggressive driving
Many of us feel the pressure of gift shopping, traveling, planning holiday events, and tight finances. There seems to be little time to juggle these holiday demands. As a result, many people will likely sleep fewer hours, putting them at risk of dozing off behind the wheel.
Stress and drowsiness can both make drivers irritable. It can also make them likely to drive too fast, make abrupt lane changes, tailgate, and engage in other forms of aggressive driving.
Distracted driving may also increase
Every day of the year, distracted driving is a threat to public safety. Some factors, however, can increase the likelihood of drivers being distracted behind the wheel during the holiday season.
Some may send multiple holiday-related text messages to their friends and family. Others use their internet browser to check store hours or their GPS navigation while traveling.
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving results in more than 3,000 traffic fatalities each year.
Maine car crash attorney can help the injured
If you are hurt in a crash, or lose a loved one, this holiday season because of someone else's negligent behavior, you have legal rights that must be upheld. An experienced Maine car accident attorney at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein can advocate on your behalf.
For more than 45 years, our legal team has helped crash victims maximize their compensation for medical damages, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our attorneys.