By: Kacy Hartmann and Emma Creason
December is a month filled with holidays galore. With Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, and other celebrations just around the corner, schedules are packed, and the roads are hectic. Staying safe during the holiday season, especially while driving, is important. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are more traffic-related deaths and collisions around holidays than any other time periods. This connection is clearly no accident, so practicing safe driving and awareness is very important to arriving at your holiday destination unscathed.
Though you may be tempted to speed around town or down the highway to get everything done, you should still abide by the speed limit and wear your seatbelt. When it comes to other drivers, give plenty of room to a car that seems to be drifting or driving erratically. Also, steer clear of trucks on turns and at night. In these situations, it’s difficult for truckers to see you in their rearview mirrors. It may be busy on the roads during the holidays. When you’re stressed about lost time, take a deep breath. Do not cut corners in order to save a few minutes. Overall, safety is your top priority.
While it’s hard to think about, there is a possibility that you may get into a traffic accident. The AARP provides steps that you should follow after a car accident has occurred. The most important thing to start with is to make sure that there are no injuries to anyone involved in the accident. Check if there are any other potential dangers after the crash. If someone is injured or is in an unsafe situation, call 911 immediately; otherwise, move the car out of the way if it is not already. Next, you should contact some form of police. Filing a police report will help the situation, even in minor accidents. Once police are on the way or at least know about the accident, go to any other parties involved and exchange information. For example, names, insurance information, phone numbers, and license plate numbers will make the events after the accident much smoother. Along with verbal information, you should also take photos or even a video of everything involved in the accident. After all of these things are handled, contact your own insurance company to begin the claims process. Hopefully you won't find yourself in a traffic accident during this holiday season, but if you do, being prepared can make all the difference.
During the holidays, it’s okay to relax from the stress of life, but for the lives of you and everyone else on the road, do not relax on safety. Don't let yourself become another number in the statistics of traffic deaths during the holidays. Taking a few extra precautions now can and will prevent worse problems in the future.