Sorry to sound like a lump of coal, but the National Safety Council (NSC) cites Christmas Day and New Year's Day the sixth and fifth most dangerous driving days, respectively. Drunk driving and poor weather factor into a number of these accidents. Because the holidays fall over a weekend this year, the NSC expects more drivers on the road, which ups the odds for accidents.
How can you avoid becoming a statistic? Staying off the road is one option, but that may put a damper on holiday outings and family visits. Bah humbug.
When you hit the roads over Christmas or New Year's, first and foremost, wear a seatbelt on every trip.
Most importantly, do not drink and drive. Between 2007 and 2011, 42 percent of the fatalities around New Year's happened because of drunk driving. If you plan to drink, even a little bit, appoint a designated driver, take public transportation, or call a taxi or rideshare service. If you have to drive on Christmas night or New Year's Eve, use an abundance of caution, even if you drive sober. There's always a chance that the auto that passes you is passing you while intoxicated.
If you decide to walk home from that New Year's Eve bash, think twice. According to a 2005 article in the journal "Injury Prevention," more pedestrian deaths occur on New Year's Day than any other day, even Halloween.
When driving or walking, keep your phone in your pocket or purse. Don't let the urge to text distract you from the road. In fact, don't let anything, even a leftover Christmas cookie, distract you from the road!
Make sure you vehicle is up for the trip. My Thanksgiving blog post gives lots of great tips for driving and flying safe.
This year was a bad one for auto accidents. The number of traffic deaths rose significantly compared to 2014 according to the NSC. The organization estimates that 307 people will be killed and 37,200 injured during the three-day Christmas holiday period. Even more-346 and 41,900, respectively-will suffer fatal or serious injuries over New Year's.
Keep yourself out of these statistics by practicing smart, safe driving practices. Most importantly, have a happy, healthy holiday season.
Photo courtesy of Steve Rhodes, santaslittlesecretservice.org.