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The winter holiday season is a wonderful time to meet with family and friends who do not live nearby. Every year, families pack up their cars with kids, presents, casseroles, and pies and set off to celebrate with those they love. AAA recently released an estimate that 93.6 million people plan on traveling by car for the upcoming holiday season. This number represents a 1.5 percent increase from last year. Unfortunately, because of this increased holiday traffic, there is an increased risk of getting injured or even killed in a car accident. Driving is second-nature to most of us, but it is important to remember that it is still a dangerous activity. In 2015, 38,300 people were killed on U.S. roads, and an astounding 4.4 million people were injured.
Drinking and Driving
Alcohol is involved in many holiday gatherings. Coworkers may have a company Christmas party, and families may include wine with dinner. Responsible drinkers know to have a designated driver or to stay put if they choose to drink, but sadly, many choose to drive anyway. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 48,613 individuals were killed in a car crash involving a driver with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher in 2015. Drinking and driving can be devastating to both those who drink and drive as well as their passengers. Being under the influence of alcohol while driving also endangers the lives of motorists and passengers in the surrounding cars and puts pedestrians and cyclists in harm’s way.
Another consideration when traveling this holiday season is to be on the lookout for distracted drivers. Drivers may be tempted to check their phones to read text messages or use GPS or maps. These activities take the driver’s attention away from the road, other vehicles, and pedestrians. This poses a serious risk to both the driver and everyone around him or her. It is especially important this time of year to drive defensively and anticipate the behavior of those around you. Experts stress that drivers should check their mirrors often and leave a good amount of space between them and the cars behind and in front of them. Drivers should look carefully before changing lanes and always use their turn signals.
Illinois and other states with formidable winters pose an additional risk to drivers this holiday season: icy roads and reduced visibility due to snow. It is in these conditions that drivers should plan on trips taking longer than usual. Slowdowns can happen due to accidents and slippery roads. Drivers should only travel at a speed that is safe for the condition of the road and should slow for traffic lights and stop signs well in advance.
Despite these precautions, sometimes accidents occur anyway. If you are injured in a crash this holiday season or any other time of year, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in DuPage County. Call 630-920-8855 for a free consultation at Martoccio & Martoccio and get help you need in collecting the compensation you deserve.