The holidays are fast approaching and holiday plans are already underway.
You've planned ahead for so many things from holiday presents to vacations. But have you considered the risks of driving during the holiday season?
Of course not. Why would you?
Because driving during the holidays increases your chance of being in an accident by at least 400%!
During the holidays, there are more people driving at night.
There are more social events going on at night during the holiday season versus the rest of the year.
And more accidents take place at night.
Between 7 pm and midnight only 35% of drivers on the road are driving for work-related reasons. Evening social driving is different. Drivers are more distracted, streets are darker, people are tired and/or impaired, and to top it off, poor weather conditions can be worse in the dark. Even without the holidays, the risk of an accident is 400% greater from sundown to midnight.
People are tired and fatigue is a big contributor to accidents at night.
Fatigue is a much bigger factor in crashes than previously thought: 800% higher in fact according to a recent AAA study using in-car dashboard cameras.
How does fatigue affect you?
- Makes you less able to pay attention to the road.
- Slows reaction time if you have to brake or steer suddenly.
- Affects your ability to make good decisions.
The AAA has found that drivers who miss between one to two hours of the recommended seven hours of sleep in a 24-hour period nearly double their risk for a crash. This is the same crash risk the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration associates with driving over the legal limit for alcohol!
Getting less than four hours of sleep? We hope not, because your crash risk is 11.5x times greater than someone who slept seven hours or more. Sleep is so important to safe driving that last week – the first week in November is Drowsy Driving week, just in time to serve as a cautionary warning for holiday drivers.
During the holidays, the alcohol is flowing.
Of course there is: it's the holidays. Everyone knows that .08 is the “legal limit” in Florida. What few know, however, is that the American Medical Association finds that .04 is the level where the drinker is impaired and recommends that states adopt this lower level for greater accident and injury prevention.
Holidays take people to places they haven't been to before.
While local trips to new places don't involve new terrain and weather conditions, you may be more distracted by the unfamiliar area and by looking up directions on your smart phone. Plan your route before you leave so you know where you're going.
For those leaving South Florida to travel north, both different weather and topography come into play along with the unfamiliar area. A holiday driver may encounter sleet, snow or ice, or may drive on rolling rural roads. All of these factors can affect your accident risk. Rural roads continue to claim more lives each year, while the effects of snow, sleet and ice are manifold, and well known. Anyone that's ever driven in those conditions has not forgotten the experience and was grateful to “arrive alive”.
What can you do to lower your holiday crash risk?
For local trips, it's simple: use ride-sharing services, and not just when you're planning on having more than a single glass of wine or a beer. Whenever you're tired, or are planning on having any alcohol, use Uber or Lyft. If you're in an accident, your sole drink may, or may not, be a contributor to that accident. It looks really bad when the party photos show you tossing back a drink and having fun. Your blood alcohol level may be below the legal limit, but its harder to convince someone that you didn't cause the accident if you had a few drinks.
Invest in a tune-up.
You want to have newer and better quality tires on your car during the winter season and make sure your brakes are serviced regularly. This will not only help in controlling your car but can also prevent unexpected breakdowns.
What should you do if you're in an accident during the holidays?
If you're hurt, call emergency medical services. But don't assume that you're not hurt just because you don't need an ambulance. Many injuries don't manifest until well after the accident.
Call Matthew Waring at Waring Law if you've been in an accident in Miami Dade, Broward or Palm Beach County. Matthew Waring has been on both sides of an accident: from winning for a client the compensation they deserve to being in an accident and feeling the pain and suffering of accident victims.
Time is important after you have been injured.
You can't afford to wait for the compensation you deserve, yet insurance companies will stall for as long as they can.
Matthew Waring is an experienced personal injury attorney who gives his clients his full commitment to getting the compensation they deserve for their injuries.
If you have been injured in an accident in South Florida, call Waring Law today at tel:(561)-382-6860 for a free consultation.