Children and adults alike look forward to the winter holiday season every year. Family get-togethers and traditions make many people excited about the winter months. Even in the most secular of families, extra time off from school can make the children feel quite excited about the holiday season.
Whether you are in charge of your family’s big party or just look forward to your annual holiday bonus, you probably have some way you hope to celebrate. If your celebration takes you out on the roads around Christmas, New Year’s or even Thanksgiving, it’s important to recognize that the celebrations also come with a noteworthy increase in your personal risk for a crash.
One risk, in particular, tends to surge on holidays and the weekends immediately before and after them.
Many people drink to celebrate the holiday season
From beers during the big game and champagne toasts at midnight to eggnog and traditional cocktails, there are many ways that people integrate alcohol into their different holiday traditions. Those celebrating with friends, co-workers or family may overindulge because they aren’t the ones paying for the alcohol or because it’s just easy to lose track of what you have had to drink when in a social setting.
The sad truth is that alcohol-related holiday traditions increase everyone’s risk. Although technically the winter months have the lowest number of drunk driving fatalities compared with other seasons, it still has some of the most dangerous days of the year.
On New Year’s Day, your risk of dying in a drunk driving crash goes up 129%. Thanksgiving, technically celebrated in the fall, sees a 77% increase in drunk driving fatalities. Your risk of a deadly drunk driving crash is also 32% higher on Christmas Day than on a typical day.
Knowing the risk can help you make more informed decisions
When you understand, for example, that driving home from a New Year’s party more than doubles your risk of dying in a drunk driving crash, you might decide that you want to stay home instead.
You could also choose to plan your holiday travel to avoid the highest risk times. Spending New Year’s Eve at the house of your host could be a safer decision than trying to drive home at 1 a.m. when everyone else is also on the roads after a celebratory glass of champagne.
Learning more about common causes of major motor vehicle collisions can help you stay safer out on the roads.
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