Safe driving during the holiday season

Published 6:41 pm Monday, December 21, 2015



The Christmas season is one of joy, giving and family gatherings, but it’s also a season of hustle and bustle.

With Christmas Eve and Christmas Day coming up this week, there will be more travellers on the road and more opportunities for the family trip to turn sour.

In 2014, there were more than 3,000 crashes in North Carolina during the Christmas holiday (defined as Dec. 23-28), with about 1,450 injuries and 18 fatalities reported, according to N.C. Department of Transportation data.

While these numbers are sobering, the proper response is not one of fear, but rather one of proactivity.

If one is traveling during the holiday season, make sure to plan for more traffic on the roads. Leave earlier than usual when heading to a destination to accommodate crowded roads and avoid the speeding and reckless driving that can ensue if one is late to a gathering.

It’s also important to acknowledge that a carload full of children on the way to the grandparents’ house means more distractions while driving. If there is a long road trip ahead, plan to have some sort of entertainment available to occupy the younger passengers, whether it’s a handheld game or in-car movie. The driver will have enough distractions on the road without the interference of the passengers.

Prepare to be a defensive driver. While one may be obeying traffic laws and driving safely, the same may not be said of other drivers. It’s imperative for a driver to operate his or her own vehicle safely, but also to watch other drivers on the road to avoid collisions. One’s quick thinking and readiness may be the difference between a crash and a problem-free trip.

One’s job is to be a safe driver. Beyond that, everything else can wait.