It is not uncommon for people to embark on a road trip and visit family and friends over the holidays. For many, this annual travel becomes a time-honored tradition. Unfortunately, this road travel can quickly become dangerous based on a combination of factors.
People are often overcome with joy during the final weeks of the year. From work and school vacations to family events, the holiday season represents a happy end to the year. Unfortunately, numerous elements can combine to make driving a dangerous experience, including:
- Drunk driving: For many people, the holiday season marks a time of celebration. From work parties to family gatherings, it is not uncommon for people to have a few too many drinks before heading to their next destination. Unfortunately, rather than call a taxi or use a ridesharing service, these impaired individuals will often get behind the wheel and take their chances.
- Medicated driving: From the changing weather and lack of sleep to proximity to shared illnesses, individuals often get sick during the winter months. Unfortunately, something as simple as taking a dose of strong cold medicine can have serious consequences for a driver’s perceptions and cognition making them dangerous to other drivers on the road.
- Drowsy driving: The combination of early sunsets, late night gatherings and impairment of any kind can result in fatigued driving. Drivers who get behind the wheel when drowsy can miss warning signals, fail to recognize stopped traffic or fall asleep – drifting into oncoming lanes.
- Dangerous weather: Unfortunately, the holiday season typically coincides with violent weather changes in the Upper Midwest. From a clear, sunny morning to a dark, snowy trip home from the store, drivers will often face hazardous weather conditions. Rain, snow, sleet and dangerous winds can all quickly turn a simple errand into a potentially deadly drive.
Driving during the holiday season is stressful enough as it is. Not only will motorists deal with poor weather, but they must fight through crowded thoroughfares and parking lots alike. Combining these factors with impaired driving, shortened daytime and potentially unfamiliar territory, drivers might face serious collisions at every turn. It is wise to take steps to avoid distractions and plan ahead to account for the dangerous roads during a holiday drive.