Driving when you’re tired, impaired or distracted is always dangerous – but add fog (given the unseasonably warm weather) and the pressures that come with the holiday season and December just might be one of the most dangerous months to be on the road.
Police are urging motorists to beware of the four most dangerous holiday driving hazards.
1. Distracted Driving. “This includes driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting holiday messages to friends, coworkers and family,” said driver safety expert Doug Horn. “It also includes driving while checking out store hours and locations using a smartphone to surf the web.”
2. Impaired Driving. “Year-end dinners, parties and celebrations typically involve consumption of alcohol, and in too many cases, use of drugs,” said Horn, who founded driving safety program "Drive by Example."
3. Pressured Driving. “The winter holidays typically bring with them increased pressures, especially financial pressures and the stress created by trying to do too much in a short time span," Horn said. "Drivers often react to these pressures by driving too fast for conditions, making aggressive lane changes, failing to yield right-of-way and generally disregarding the needs and safety of others using the road.”
4. Fatigued Driving. “Increased demands and activities during the winter holidays often mean significantly reduced sleep schedules,” Horn added. “According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who slept 6-7 hours a night were twice as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more, while people sleeping less than 5 hours increased their risk four to five times.”
What's worse, Horn said: A single driver can succumb to all four behaviors at once, especially during the final 10 days of the year.
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