New Year’s Eve is widely celebrated in cultures spanning the globe. There are few things more enjoyable than ringing in the new year with your closest friends or family members. As the time draws near to celebrate the beginning of 2023, it’s important to arrange your travel plans for the holiday. Unfortunately, many regions of the United States experience a surge of car accidents during the winter holiday period. In this article, we offer some tips for planning your transportation to and from a New Year’s Eve celebration, so you can safely enjoy the festivities.

What Road-Related Hazards Can You Expect to Encounter on New Year’s Eve?

New Year’s Eve is one of the more dangerous holidays in the U.S.. One of the most significant risks during the holiday is that of car accidents, which can frequently “lead to severe injuries for victims.” Crashes occur at an unusually high volume during the holiday period due to:

  • Poor weather conditions, such as icy roads or decreased visibility caused by snow
  • Drivers traveling in unfamiliar places or weather 
  • Drunk or impaired motorists
  • Heavier-than-usual traffic
  • The presence of more pedestrians than usual on city streets and walkways

To combat these seasonal hazards, we’ve put together the following list of suggestions to help you get to and from your destination safely and efficiently. 

Plan Your Drive in Advance

If possible, it is always a good idea to leave for your celebratory event as early as possible. You can count on encountering worse traffic than normal, as other partygoers head off to their own New Year’s Eve events. Before you leave the house, plan which roads you would like to take and have a contingency plan prepared in case you encounter heavy traffic, a car accident, or poor weather conditions. Keep in mind that your area may establish DUI checkpoints for the holiday, so you may need to budget additional time into your schedule to navigate the resulting increase in traffic. 

Obey the Posted Speed Limit

Even if you find yourself running behind schedule, it is essential to obey the speed limit and other traffic laws. Speeding and other forms of reckless driving put you and other motorists at risk of serious harm, particularly if you are located in an area with severe winter weather. Always observe the rules of the road and prepare for your travels well in advance. If you are driving through an area with heavy snowfalls and icy roads, you may need to acquire winter tires and should have a cold weather emergency kit in your vehicle.  

Stay Focused on the Road

One of the leading causes of car accidents in the U.S. is distracted driving. Oftentimes, when we hear the phrase “distracted driving,” our thoughts go immediately to someone using their cellphone while behind the wheel. While cellphone use is a very common cause of crashes, anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road can be considered a distraction. A driver may be distracted by:

  • Loud, disruptive, or violent passengers
  • Adjusting the car’s sound system volume, air conditioning or heating, or navigation features
  • “Rubbernecking,” or taking one’s focus off driving to look at something along or on the road 
  • Moving animals or objects in the car
  • Eating or drinking
  • Smoking
  • Applying makeup 

Whenever you are behind the wheel, it is essential to minimize distractions as best as possible. Especially during the holidays, when there will be more vehicles and pedestrians than usual on the road, it is key to be aware of what is happening around your car.

If You Plan on Drinking, Use a Rideshare Service or Hail a Taxi

Drinking and driving is never a good decision. Drivers that are impaired by alcohol or other substances, including prescription medications, may exhibit slower reflexes, poor decision making, and may even struggle to differentiate between different colors. All of these factors can easily lead to a tragic and entirely preventable car crash. There are multiple ways you can get to your destination and enjoy yourself safely, including:

  • Using a rideshare service such as Lyft or Uber, or even by hailing a taxi. There may be higher demand for ridesharing services than usual, so you may want to schedule a ride in advance or request transportation some time before when you would like to leave the venue.
  • Riding with a friend or family member that does not drink. A designated driver that you trust can get you and our friends to and from an event without having to worry about surging rideshare costs or scarce transportation options.
  • Checking to see if there are any opportunities for free or discounted holiday travel in your area. In some regions of the U.S., local businesses, rideshare companies, or government agencies offer options for free or reduced-cost transit options from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day to combat drunk driving. 

Drive Safely & Enjoy the Holiday

We hope this article helps you get to your New Year’s Eve party with as little stress as possible. Remember to prepare accordingly for the weather, leave yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going, and stay focused on the evolving road conditions around you.