Increased Crash Danger During the Holidays
The risk of being seriously injured or killed in a crash increases during the holiday season. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, in 2017, eight fatal crashes occurred on December 22nd, which was the record for the year.
This crash increase is due to a number of reasons. Children are out of school and adults are taking more days off of work, therefore increasing the number of cars on the road. Roads may be more hazardous due to ice or wet weather. More people are consuming alcohol, meaning the likelihood of drunk driving increases. People may also be more distracted because they are driving with their cars filled with friends and family.
Because children are out of school, there is an increased risk of dirt bike, ATV, and other recreational vehicle injury to children. On December 2, 2018, an 8-year-old child was injured after crashing a dirt bike in Peoria of New River Road. He was taken to a trauma center for treatment, and no further details are known at this time.
Here’s a look at the amount of fatal holiday crashes during the past five years:
- In 2017, 17 people were killed on Thanksgiving and 11 were killed during Christmas. Thirteen were killed on New Year’s Day.
- These numbers are higher than the five preceding years. There were 57 total fatal crashes during the holidays in 2017, while there were 48 in 2016, 52 in 2015, 42 in 2014, and 47 in 2013.
- Alcohol was involved in five of the fatal Thanksgiving crashes in 2017, three during Christmas, and five during New Year’s.
Here are some holiday driving safety tips we’d like to share with you.
- First and foremost, make sure your vehicle is up to date with all necessary maintenance and tire rotations. Have it fully stocked with snacks and water for longer drives, as well as emergency supplies such as jumper cables, orange cones to make yourself more visible if you do break down, a blanket in case of cold weather, a working and fully charged cellphone, maps and other directions, and phone numbers for emergency contacts.
- When there are more cars on the road, use extra caution. Leave a greater amount of space between you and the car in front of you, and reduce your speed. This is called driving defensively, and it also includes checking your mirrors often and staying focused on the road.
- Designate a driver if there is alcohol at your event. Never get behind the wheel after a drink. Instead, choose someone who will not consume alcohol to be your driver.
- Go over safety rules with children. If your children will be riding on or operating any recreational vehicles, they must be properly trained in how fast to go, how to stop, and what safety equipment (such as a helmet) to wear.
Happy holidays, and stay safe this season.
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