The holidays are a stressful time of year. People have to arrange for travel, plan family get-togethers and budget for gifts. Many people become so focused on those celebration-related stressors that they overlook their heightened risk of personal injury.
The holiday season results in a lot of people traveling to visit with friends and family. Some people spend hours driving to be with family on Thanksgiving and Christmas, for example. However, all of that traffic often leads to an increased collision risk. There is often a dramatic increase in major collisions on and near the major holidays. Motorists in New Jersey should do what they can to account for those enhanced risks when planning their holiday travels.
What do the statistics show?
There are many reasons why holiday travel tends to lead to major collisions. Traffic can be dangerous on Christmas because adults may have stayed up late at night decorating or wrapping presents. Increased alcohol consumption related to holiday celebrations and distraction caused by excited kids or navigation software may contribute to overall risk levels.
All of the major winter holidays see a large number of fatal crashes. There were roughly 427 traffic deaths on New Year’s Day in 2022. The National Safety Council estimated 346 traffic deaths would occur on Christmas in 2022 and 518 on Thanksgiving. Even Halloween, which technically occurs in the fall, tends to see a large number of serious pedestrian collisions each year.
How can drivers protect themselves?
One of the best ways for people to reduce their risk of a holiday collision will be to stay off the road whenever possible. Those who travel a few days ahead of time and stay with family may have a reduced risk of getting into a crash on the day of the holiday self, although the weekends before and after holidays tend to see an increase in collision rates as well.
Drivers may need to be more proactive about ensuring that they are in optimal condition to drive. Avoiding distraction, knowing not to drive after enjoying intoxicants and working with a passenger for navigation instead of managing it while driving ways to someone reduce an individual’s risk. Making safety a top priority can help to ensure that the holidays remain a time of celebration instead of becoming an anniversary of a family tragedy in the future.