Our View

‘Tis the season to drive carefully

By From page A6 | December 18, 2013

The issue: Watch out on the roads this Friday, and through the weekend

On Earth peace, good will to man … but on the highway, not so much.

A STUDY BY David Brown, a University of Alabama professor who examines holiday traffic (perhaps if you’re researching the traffic, it means you’re not stuck in it), found that the six days around Christmas showed 18 percent more accidents than Thanksgiving weekend, the heaviest travel days of the year, and 27 percent more than New Year’s Eve when drivers are perhaps handicapped by an excess of holiday cheer.

Claims for collisions increase by almost 20 percent during December, according to the Highway Loss Data Institute, which indicates that’s probably on the low side because many minor fender-benders happen in mall parking lots and are settled privately.

The problem is that probably you and certainly your fellow drivers are stressed out and short-tempered by the extra traffic, including people who aren’t really sure where they’re going, and the necessity to pick up a lot of stuff in scattered locations.

IT IS NO SECRET that holidays are stressful. State Farm Insurance found that 32 percent of drivers are likely to become more aggressive during the holidays.

Brown says that this year the worst, and most hazardous traffic, will fall on the Friday before Christmas, although the next four days leading up to Christmas are likely to be no safe-driving clinic either.

The safest day to drive? Christmas Day itself. “Nobody’s out there on the roads,” Brown said. “It’s a very safe day to drive.”

It’s also a good day to rest up, relax and unwind because that weekend there will be all the gift returns and post-Christmas sales.

Our View

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