Why Do The Holidays Increase Distracted Driving?

Distracted Driving

What is distracted driving? Distracted driving is one of the largest contributors to car-related deaths and injuries. Thousands of people die each year from distracted driving in the United States alone, and hundreds of thousands are injured in accidents.

Many things can contribute to distracted driving. Cell phones are definitely the largest culprit.

But even the time of year can contribute to distracted driving. During the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years, distracted driving incidents increase astronomically, up to thirty-three percent.

The holidays should be a happy time to get together with friends and family and celebrate. No one expects to lose a loved one to an accident. But the statistics don’t lie.

If you want to learn more about how the holidays contribute to distracted driving and how to prevent it, read on for more information.

1. Cell Phones

By now, everyone is aware of the dangers of cell phone use while driving a car. And yet the habit seems to persist, with people calling, texting, and using applications while racing down the highway or creeping through traffic.

Even hands-free phone use has shown to contribute to distractions. The human brain is not capable of processing the multiple tasks necessary to drive a car while also using a cell phone.

When considering the holiday season, the pieces start to fall into place for how cell phone use contributes to distracted driving.

Family members on their way to the holiday gathering might send out a quick text message, letting everyone know when they’re arriving.

Or maybe someone needs to place a call to the grocery store, to make sure the holiday catering they ordered is ready.

Whatever the reason, it can wait. If you’re in the car with the family, delegate the job of updating your ETA to a passenger. Make your necessary calls before or after you stop the car.

Nothing is worth the heartache and expense of getting into an accident, especially around the holidays. Avoid distracted driving due to cell phone use, and keep it in your purse or pocket.

2. Alcohol

It goes without saying that the holidays are a fun time, and often we like to celebrate fun times with some alcohol.

Impaired driving accidents during the holidays, along with cell phone use, are one of the major contributors to accidents and injuries that seem to spike at this time every year.

We all know that alcohol inhibits your judgment-making skills and reaction time. Pair that with holiday stress, distractions, and inclement weather, and you have a recipe for a potential disaster.

With all that in mind, even a legal amount of alcohol can contribute to the possibility of becoming a distracted driving statistic.

If you plan on partaking during the holidays, utilize a taxi, ride-share, or find a designated driver. And if you plan on driving sober, know when the likely hours for drunk driving happen, such as weekend nights and New Years.

3. Inclement Weather

Everyone dreams of a white Christmas. But along with the holidays comes inclement weather conditions such as snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain.

If you live in an area that regularly gets inclement weather, you may adjust to driving in such conditions. And, maintenance of major roads in your area will likely keep them free of hazards.

But if you or visiting family members are not used to driving in the inevitable Christmas snowstorm. This could contribute to distracted driving.

The less practice someone has driven in snow or on icy roads, the more stressed and distracted they may be.

To avoid hitting inclement weather, follow weather reports along your planned route. And, prepared to change or cancel plans if conditions are too bad.

4. Increased Traffic

We’ve all seen the news reports. Overflowing airports. Backed up interstates. Even in town, there seems to be double the number of cars from the rest of the year.

Especially on a major shopping and travel days, increased traffic can lead to an upswing in distractions on the road.

There are more cars you need to remain aware of, and more noise and chaos from other distracted drivers, especially around crowded areas.

And being stuck in traffic is incredibly stressful. Don’t let your irritation build to a distracting amount. Skip the traffic entirely by traveling at off-peak times, such as during the afternoons and on weekdays.

5. Parking Lots and Pedestrians

Parking lots and neighborhoods are surprisingly some of the most common places for car accidents to occur. While the speeds of these accidents are usually lower, they are no less financially costly or prone to causing injuries and deaths.

Shopping centers, grocery stores, and places such as post offices always see increased traffic during the holidays, of both the car and pedestrian variety.

And with the increased stress and other distractions of the holiday season piling up, it can be very easy to accidentally rear-end another car, or back up into a pedestrian shopper in your blind spot.

Take extra caution when patronizing places of business during the holiday season. Go at off-peak times if possible, and park further away to avoid the heavy foot and vehicle traffic closer to entries and exits.

It may be a bit of a long walk in the cold, but it will be worth it to avoid slamming your breaks constantly to avoid hitting the swarms of shoppers.

6. The Most Stressful Time of the Year

While it’s nice to think of the holidays as a purely pleasant time of food, friends, and fun, the fact of the matter is, they can contribute majorly to our stress levels.

Buying presents, planning holiday meals, coordinating family member visits, and navigating crowds all build up stress in our systems.

Stress contributes to distracted driving for every other item on this list. When stressed, our decision-making skills and concentration suffer. That’s a bad recipe for a holiday accident.

Manage your holiday season stress by shopping at off-peak times or earlier in the year, delegating cooking and shopping duties to other family members, or keeping your celebrations small.

Holiday Distracted Driving Accident?

If you’ve been in a distracted driving accident during the holidays and were injured or a family member was killed, always contact a lawyer. A good lawyer can ensure that you will receive suitable compensation for damages. If you would like more information on legal services, call us at 844-970-4370.

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