The holidays are here which means many Americans are full of good cheer. It also means that nearly 95 million Americans will hit America’s roadways on their way to Grandma’s house. Sadly, by the end of the holiday season, almost 28,000 America drivers will be involved in auto accidents, and more than 250 will die.
Auto Accident Factors
There are many factors that cause auto accidents, but around the holidays the two main players are alcohol and vision. So which holidays see the most auto accidents? Understandably the mention of alcohol leads many to believe that it would be New Year’s Day. It may surprise to you know that that title belongs to Thanksgiving Day.
Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA, points out that “more vehicles create a greater potential for conflict.” The holidays are the perfect recipe for an increase in auto accidents and injuries. It should be no surprise that of the six deadliest holidays on American roads, three of them are within weeks on one another (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day).
Thanksgiving Auto Accidents
Thanksgiving Day sees an average of 576 fatalities a year. A number reached from a collection of data kept since 1982. Of those fatalities, 41% are alcohol-related. The increased traffic volume plays its role in the auto accident increase. So to does alcohol. Which is why alcohol abuse is and continues to be the main concern for people who track fatality data.
While alcohol accounts for nearly half of the fatalities experienced during the holidays, researchers and police officers want to remind people that vision plays a key role in safe driving. Daylight Savings Time brings darker times for commutes and as a result makes driving that much more dangerous.
Vision doesn’t just apply to daylight, but also to attention. The rising use of cell phones while driving has led to a dramatic increase in distracted driving. Study after study has shown that distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving and it happens at a significantly higher frequency.
So whether you’re setting off to Grandma’s house to eat some turkey, open Christmas presents, or celebrate the coming year, be sure to practice safe driving habits. Drive the speed limit, keep a safe distance between you and the vehicles ahead of you, don’t drink and drive, and put down that cell phone. The holidays are full of laughter and joy. And sharing that merriment with people should extend to America’s roadways.