As with most other holidays, New Year’s Eve brings an increase in the number of accidents, especially on highways and roads. New Year’s actually sees some of the largest amount of drunk driving offenders compared to other holidays, due to the fact that the main cause for celebration is a late-night party with drinking. This just means more drunk drivers and more tragic accidents.
While the best safety advice anyone can give for New Year’s is the obvious, “don’t drink and drive,” it is also equally important to refrain from texting and driving, or really just avoiding any distracting activity while behind the wheel. This isn’t only for your own safety, but for that of others. While most people understand that drunk driving can cost lives, texting, eating, applying makeup, etc. while driving can impair your reaction time just as much as alcohol. However, many people still do not regard distracted driving as a deadly error in the same way we think of drunk driving.
If you need to text someone while driving, the safest thing to do is to pull over first. If it is not worth pulling over, then the text really is not that urgent.
Staying alert and practicing defensive driving can prevent many of the accidents that happen on New Year’s, or any other holiday for that matter. Remember that when you get in that driver’s seat, it may not be enough to be sober and distraction-free. Other drivers around you could be distracted or impaired, and if you are driving defensively you will be able to see them coming and avoid any dangerous driving maneuvers on their part. How can you be a defensive driver? The main things to remember when defensive driving are:
- Avoid rushing. Leave early so that you have plenty of time to get to your final destination.
- Avoid tailgating. Allow extra room between yourself and other vehicles.
- Let people pass you.
- Regularly check your mirrors, especially before executing any lane changes.
- Always use your turn signal!
Lastly, you can help prevent accidents even when you are not on the roadways by planning a designated driver to get you and your pals home safely on New Year’s Eve. If someone you know is not safe to be behind the wheel, speak up and take their keys. While they may be mad at the time, they will thank you for it the next day.