With the holiday season comes more time spent behind the wheel of your vehicle. Most Americans will use their personal vehicles to travel to holiday parties, shop for gifts, and visit relatives, and that’s all in addition to their regular daily commutes. If you plan to drive in the Manitowoc in the coming days, look out for the following four driving hazards along the way.
1. Perilous Weather
Old Man Winter is barely here, and we’ve already experienced arctic blasts and winter storms blowing through the Manitowoc area. If you plan to travel this holiday season, check the road conditions between your departure point and destination first. Slippery roads, high winds, and poor visibility have a way of complicating a road trip, often causing accidents, highway pileups, and long delays. Before you take off, make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition. Be sure to pack an emergency kit in case you find yourself stranded, and always leave early in case of a delay.
2. Drunk Drivers
Impaired driving is more common during holidays when many people are imbibing with celebratory drinks at social, family, and work parties. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 40 percent of traffic fatalities occurring during the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays involve alcohol. That’s a stark increase compared to the 28 percent of fatalities attributed to alcohol during the rest of December.
- While there is no way to completely avoid injury from a drunk driver, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk.
- Always buckle up when riding in a vehicle no matter the distance.
- Avoid driving late at night when intoxicated drivers may be leaving bars or parties to go home.
- If you must drive during late hours, pay extra attention to your surroundings – especially at intersections where you have the right of way.
- If you plan to drink, turn over your keys to a designated sober driver for the evening, or call a taxi to take you home.
3. Crowded Roads
The number of cars taking long-distance road trips increases by more than 23 percent over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. That’s in addition to the increased number of people traveling short distances on local roads as they finish up holiday shopping, make returns, and scour after-Christmas sales.
More cars on the roads often mean a higher risk of accidents. To reduce your risk, consider taking an alternate, less congested routes around town, and be sure to check for road delays before taking a road trip.
To keep yourself up-to-date with road conditions, you can follow @511WI on Twitter or download the free 511 Wisconsin smartphone app for real-time traffic updates. The app allows drivers to view images from traffic cameras and learn the conditions of major roads and highways 24-hours a day, 365 days a week.
4. Road rage
This is the time of year that brings out the best in mankind, but also the worst in drivers. Road rage tends to spike during the holiday season due to a number of factors. People tend to drive more aggressively and less considerately – two factors that can trigger anger and frustration in already stressed-out drivers. Sometimes, all it takes is for one car to cut off another to start a skirmish. Though most drivers will honk their horns and move on, some just can’t let things go. Just last month, a 53-year old man in Wausau was hit in the head with his own bat after starting a road rage incident.
We suggest driving defensively and avoiding aggressive behavior. You should also talk to your independent insurance agent about affordable car insurance that includes comprehensive coverage for non-collision events. That way, if an uninsured person destroys the hood of your car with a baseball bat, you’ll know it’s covered!