We’re entering the season where everything starts to feel a little merrier and brighter, and calendars start filling up with plenty of festivities with family and friends to commemorate the holidays. Despite the excitement and joy of the season, research shows that a darker side exists to all the celebrations. ThThe U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that drunk drivers play a role in a full 40 percent of traffic deaths over Christmas and New Year’s. That’s a significant increase of 12 percent over the rest of December. The pre-holiday season can be a dangerous time on the roads already, with many families making long commutes and rush hour stress increasing. Add the effects of a couple of holiday party drinks, and defensive driving becomes more important than ever.
Specifically, in North Carolina, instances of drunk driving have already been slightly increasing over the last few years. According to the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles Crash Data Facts Report for 2017, there were 11,342 statewide drunk driving crashes, a difficult number to ignore that spiked noticeably around holiday seasons. That same year, a whopping 50 percent of all traffic fatalities over Memorial Day weekend were alcohol-related. Even if you abide by state laws and avoid driving while under the influence, it’s impossible to ensure that drivers around you will do the same – so, take a few extra steps of precaution.
It can be easy to fall into a rut when doing something as commonplace as driving, but even the most experienced of drivers should practice driving defensively – especially during statistically dangerous times on the road. Remember that your driving isn’t the only one to be concerned with, and that it’s impossible to know who else you’re sharing the road with and how reckless they may be. Defensive driving entails following several potentially lifesaving crash prevention techniques, like these below.
- Don’t assume your right of way, always check to ensure there isn’t an oncoming vehicle
- Be aware of reaction distance and maintaining generous space between yourself and other drivers
- Know your own vehicle’s stopping distance
- Avoid tunnel vision driving and always scan the roadway
- Use a two-second rule for following distances
Use ride share services
Ride share services like Uber and Lyft are an excellent modern convenience to help you get home safely on a night out. To ensure your comfort and wellbeing while using one of these services, check out another blog of ours detailing your rights as a ride share passenger here.
Be aware as a pedestrian
Other drivers aren’t the only people in danger when somebody hits the road while under the influence. While the pre-holiday season hold some of the most dangerous days to drive, the holidays also bring statistically dangerous days for pedestrians. According to a 2005 article in the journal of Injury Prevention, more pedestrian deaths occur on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year – including Halloween. Be aware and take extra precautions on days when most pedestrian deaths occur, including Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays – which account for virtually half (49%) of all pedestrian fatalities. Alcohol involvement has been reported for nearly half of all fatal crashes involving a pedestrian, so be sure to avoid walking down busy roads during the season of increased drunk driving reports.
The season we’re in is one for joy and celebration, and our firm is here to advocate for your wellbeing now and always. See our experience with drunk driving cases here and contact us at our website in the event of an accident impacting you or a loved one.