Holiday Driving Hazards

Whether it’s making a phone call from behind the wheel, rushing to the next holiday party or indulging in some rum eggnog prior to hitting the road, here are some of the most dangerous behaviors drivers exhibit during the holiday season.
When combined with the four most dangerous driving behaviors, low visibility and snowy roads can create precarious driving situations during the holiday season. Driving when you’re tired, impaired or distracted is always dangerous – but add low visibility, the potential for ice and snow and the pressures that come with the holiday season, and November and December just might 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 and locations using a smartphone to surf the web.
  2. Impaired Driving. Year-end dinners, parties and celebrations typically involve consumption of alcohol, and in too many cases, use of drugs. 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 typically bring with them increased pressures, especially financial pressures and 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.
It’s not uncommon for a single driver to manifest all four dangerous driving behaviors at the same time, especially in the final 10 days of the year. So this holiday season, take this list and check it twice – and stay safe out there. Please drive defensively and it will probably not be you who is breaking one of the four hazards. Watch out for other drivers who are driving sporadically or swerving.