Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's Eve may not be here yet, but we are in the midst of the holiday season. It starts on Thanksgiving and runs through the month of December.
Many will be traveling long distances to visit family or embarking on holiday shopping at a local plaza. When you drive this time of year, your chances of being involved in a crash significantly increase.
Gift shopping, family gatherings, and holiday work parties can bring a great deal of joy. They can also make people behave in ways they don't normally behave. Sometimes, this behavior manifests itself on Ohio roadways in ways that put lives at risk.
What are the four most common holiday driving hazards?
Doug Horn is a driver safety expert and founder of the driving safety program "Drive by Example." He breaks down the most common roadway hazards drivers will likely face during the holiday season in an article in EHS Today. These include:
- Driver distraction: Browsing the internet for store hours and sending texts to friends and family are common forms of distraction during the holiday period.
- Alcohol and drug-impairment: Throughout the month of December, many adults attend family gatherings, dinners, and holiday celebrations. These usually involve drinking, and sometimes, drug use. “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,” Horn said.
- Stressed driving: The holiday season often brings with it a great deal of financial stress and tight schedules. Some people, however, take that stress out on the roadway, resulting in aggressive driving and even road rage. "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,” said Horn.
- Drowsy driving: The increased holiday demands don't only result in holiday stress. They also result in hours of lost sleep. According to AAA, those who receive 6-7 hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash in comparison to those who receive 8 hours of sleep.
What are my options if I'm hurt in an accident this holiday season?
The holiday season should bring joy to Ohio residents, not end in a catastrophe. Unfortunately, it happens far too often. For example, the National Safety Council estimated in 2018 that 422 people would die in crashes on Christmas Day — and 438 on New Year's Day.
The Ohio car accident attorneys at Gervelis Law Firm urge everyone to stay safe this holiday season. If you or a loved one is hurt in a crash, our lawyers can help you get justice. We fight for the rights of injured motorists in Canfield, Warren, Akron, and Toledo, as well as Hermitage, Pennsylvania. Contact us online to find out how we can help you.