It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the middle of the holiday season. With only a few short weeks left of festivities, many families across the country will be packing their bags to visit with loved ones. While spending time with friends and family is a tradition during the holiday season, doing so comes with a wide array of risks. According to the National Safety Council, more than 300 traffic fatalities occur during the three-day Christmas period each year. If you’re planning on traveling this holiday season or are out and about running last minute holiday errands, it’s important to practice these safe driving practices to make sure your holiday season is spent at home and not in the hospital.
Don’t Drink and Drive
This popular slogan rings even truer during the holiday season. With many college students home from school and adults off from work, the holiday season offers more opportunities to consume alcohol than any other time of the year. In addition to more flexibility, friends and family get together for parties, dinners and other activities where alcohol is often a common staple. If you plan to drink, it’s imperative that you have a designated driver who can take you home. If you’re unable to find a designated driver or if they indulged in alcohol consumption themselves, it’s recommended that you spend the night at your location or utilize the services of a rideshare company such as Lyft or Uber. Not only can drinking and driving land you behind bars, it can cause significant and often catastrophic injuries to you and other drivers on the road if you’re involved in an accident.
Don’t Drive Fatigued
Another dangerous habit to avoid is fatigued driving. As we mentioned earlier, the holiday season is one of the busiest days for travel. According to the United States Department of Transportation, about 91% of all holiday transportation is done by car. Driving, especially in rural areas such as in Pennsylvania, can easily make a driver tired, but couple that with exhaustion from cooking, decorating and running errands and it can often be a recipe for disaster. If you’re traveling a long distance, remember these important safety tips before you get behind the wheel:
- Get a good night’s sleep
- Stop and take a break every 2 hours
- Don’t exceed more than 8-10 hours of travel per day
- Alternate with other drivers in the vehicle, if possible
- Don’t travel during periods when you’d normally be sleeping
Read more: 4 Safety Tips for Driving at Night
Don’t Drive Distracted
Oftentimes, we think of distracted driving as picking up our phone to call or text someone but it’s so much more than that. Distractions can be anything that takes your eyes or mind off the road. These can include:
- Eating, drinking or holding a cup of coffee while you drive
- Adjusting the heat or radio in your car
- Finding a station on streaming service
- Talking with other passengers, including children in the backseat
- Singing along with the radio
- Using your cell phone to snap photos, check social media or call or text someone
- Using a GPS
An important rule of thumb is to keep your focus on the road any time you get behind the wheel of a car. The holiday season sees an uptick in traffic, which means your risk of getting in a car accident is higher. In addition to the increased traffic and drivers trying to make time up on the road, the holiday season is also notorious for bad weather conditions. The roads may be slick with black ice, causing your vehicle to slide out of control.
The holiday season is often one of the most enjoyable. Not only does our firm wish you a happy holiday season, we wish you a safe one, as well.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Matzus Law, LLC represent clients injured because of motor vehicle accidents in Pittsburgh, Butler, Green Burg, Washington, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call (412) 206-5300 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 310 Grant Street, Suite 3210, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.