The holidays bring joy and excitement, but they also bring additional dangers. The Texas Department of Transportation reported that in 2020, the state experienced a 7.5% increase in fatal crashes, with almost 3,900 fatalities due to car accidents occurring in the year. In preparation for the hustle and bustle of traveling for the holidays, it’s important to be aware of information that could help keep the family safe and avoid any car crashes during the holiday season. 

Failure to Follow the Speed Limit

Each year, hundreds of thousands of car crashes occur due to people not following the posted speed limit. In 2020, almost 141,000 accidents in Texas were caused by drivers neglecting to drive the speed limit. While we usually imagine car accidents occurring due to someone speeding, it’s important to note that driving too far below the speed limit is dangerous as well. However, accidents that happen at a higher speed create a much higher likelihood for injuries. If you or a family member gets into an accident due to someone else neglecting to pay attention to the speed limit, it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer in order to receive the compensation deserved.

Lane Changing 

Between blind spots on cars, the lack of using signal lights, and distracted driving, over 77,000 car accidents occurred in 2020 during a vehicle making a lane change. Though accidents from merging into another car are surprisingly common, they are also somewhat easily preventable. Always signal when you are going to change lanes or are about to turn onto another road. When you are about to make a lane change, it’s a good idea to turn your head and check your blind spots, even if it appears that there are no other vehicles around. It’s always important to keep in mind that mirrors will distort how close a car appears to you, so they can be deceiving while you are merging.

Distracted Driving

Unsurprisingly, distracted driving causes tens of thousands of car crashes in Texas every year. Distractions can lead to failure to yield, accidental tailgating, and the creation of more hazards from having to make last-minute decisions. Distractions are usually inevitable, but there are some ways to reduce the amount of them. Silencing your cell phone while driving is good practice, as well as staying observant, especially while driving through residential areas. Children in the backseat can be extremely distracting, so if possible, keep the child occupied with a quiet activity and patiently let them know that you must focus while driving in order to keep everyone safe.

Aggressive Driving

While the roads undoubtedly get busier and more stressful during the holidays, it’s extremely important to keep level headed and rational in your reactions to other drivers’ actions. Aggressive driving also causes thousands of accidents. Road rage leads to irrational decisions such as cutting others off, purposely swerving, or blocking others from passing. Though driving and others on the road are sometimes undeniably frustrating, it’s essential to not react just as aggressively as others. If you are confronted with an aggressive driver, try to calm yourself down and not provoke them even more. A tip to deal with others’ road rage is to rationalize by making up a story about why they are driving so irresponsibly. When you pretend they are rushing to the hospital to meet their grandbaby or something else greatly urgent, it is easier to rationalize. 

Driving Under the Influence

Holidays bring celebration, and celebration often leads to indulging in alcohol and other substances. The Texas Department of Transportation grimly reports that one Texan dies of a DUI-related crash every 8 and a half hours, and that 24% of traffic fatalities involve drunk driving. Crashes that happen while someone is under the influence are completely preventable for the intoxicated driver involved. No one should ever get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated, no matter how confident they are about being sober or being able to drive under the influence. If a loved one tries to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, try your hardest to prevent them from driving off and hurting themselves or somebody else. Anywhere that they are trying to go is not worth it when their life, as well as others’ lives, are at risk.