The end of the year brings many occasions to celebrate with family and friends; Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are holidays many look forward to. It’s common to drive long distances to attend parties or have others come to one you’re hosting yourself. Unfortunately, there are real risks when traveling during these popular times of year.

A significant contributor to the increase in accidents over the holidays is alcohol. It’s no surprise that adults want to indulge in beer, wine or spirits when having a good time, but it becomes a problem when they reach for their keys while still intoxicated. Alcohol profoundly impacts a driver’s ability to operate their car and makes them a danger to themselves and others on the road.

The National Safety Council (NSC) is already predicting there will be 438 deaths due to impaired drivers over the New Year’s holiday. That’s not all; they also predict almost 50,000 non-fatal injuries will be sustained in traffic accidents. The organization specifically tracks the number of fatalities and injuries each year and works to educate drivers in an effort to reduce them.

How to stay safe while driving during the holidays

  • Wear your seatbelt. Attitudes about them vary, but some drivers see them as optional. According to the NSC, they can reduce the chance of dying in an auto accident by almost 50%. It’s crucial to make sure all car occupants buckle themselves in before departing.
  • Avoid traveling at night. The lowered visibility will make it more difficult to react quickly. If there is a car that you believe may have an impaired driver, it’s important to spot them as soon as possible and take appropriate measures to distance yourself from them before calling the authorities.
  • Put away the distractions. Drivers need to stow cellphones and other devices that have the potential to take their mind off the road. The CDC points out that distracted drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. If someone is driving drunk on the highway, you’re going to need all your focus to stay safe.

With these tips, hopefully, you’ll be aware of potential hazards on the road and can more fully enjoy any holiday plans without any mishaps.