When San Diego residents hear about holiday driving hazards, many believe they are not at risk of an auto accident because of the relatively sunny weather we experience all year. Yet the risks that come with holiday driving are not necessarily impacted by inclement weather. According to an article in EHS Today, the most common holiday driving hazards have nothing to do with snow and ice. Rather, driving while you are impaired, distracted, fatigued, or experiencing stress can result in a severe car accident. In the event that you will be driving outside of Southern California during the holidays, it is important to keep in mind that snow-covered roads and limited visibility will only be made worse if you are not prepared to be behind the wheel.
What do you need to know about staying safe on the roads this holiday season? We will examine risky driving behaviors in more detail to make clear the ways in which these actions can pose serious risks to the driver, passengers, and others out on the roadways.
Impaired Driving During the Holiday Season
During the holidays, impaired driving occurs much too often. Holiday parties at your place of employment or holiday dinners at the houses of friends and family often involve drinking alcohol. Having even one drink too many can result in a deadly auto accident. According to the article, “an increase in the number of impaired drivers using the roadways during the winter holidays has been well-established by law enforcement, and the loss of life resulting from impaired driving is also well-established.”
How dangerous is drunk driving in California? According to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 10,000 people died in California car accidents involving a drunk driver between 2003 and 2012. A majority of the deaths involved people between the ages of 21-34, but persons in all age groups were impacted by alcohol-related crashes. California does have a slightly lower rate of alcohol-related accident fatalities than the national average, and fewer Californians self-report drinking and driving than do Americans surveyed to calculate the national average. However, drunk driving accidents do occur in our state, and we should be particularly careful about these preventable accidents during the holidays.
Other Holiday Driving Dangers
In addition to driving under the influence of alcohol, the article notes the following as serious holiday driving hazards:
- Distracted driving: taking your eyes off the road or concentrating on other tasks while you are driving can result in a serious or even fatal car accident. Distracted driving includes cell phone use, texting, and even remapping a route on your GPS device.
- Driving under pressure: the holiday season is often a stressful time for San Diego residents, from the financial strains of gift-giving to the year-end pressures at work. If you are stressed, you are more likely to drive aggressively, and aggressive driving can lead to a serious crash.
- Fatigued driving: if you drive while you are too tired to be behind the wheel, you could be putting yourself and others at risk. While there are “increased demands and activities during the winter holidays [that] often mean significantly reduced sleep schedules,” according to the article, it is important to pull over if you are too tired to drive.
Auto accidents can happen suddenly and without warning. In many cases, another driver’s negligence is the cause of the crash. If another party’s negligence led to a traffic collision in which you sustained severe injuries, it is important to discuss your case with an aggressive San Diego car accident lawyer. You may be eligible to file a claim for financial compensation. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.