Nothing can ruin a happy holiday season quite like an unexpected car insurance loss. While a car insurance policy can help lessen the sting, no one wants to file a claim during the holidays. That’s why we are listing some of the most common causes of holiday-time claims, as well as some tips to avoid them altogether.
Christmas Lights – A Beautiful Distraction
According to the Centers for Disease Control, an average of 1,161 people are injured and 8 people killed each day in accidents involving a distracted driver. Distracted driving involves any activity that causes drivers to take their eyes and mental focus off the road – including Christmas lights. With so many homes lit up in festive displays, it pays to pay closer attention to other drivers who may not be paying attention to you.
Wisconsin is no stranger to extreme weather. While we may be accustomed to shoveling our driveways and plowing through snow, it doesn’t change the dangers associated with wintery weather. If you plan to travel this year, pay attention to highway conditions. Slippery roads and poor visibility are common causes of holiday-time accidents. The 511 Wisconsin website (operated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation) offers real-time traffic updates, including information about delays and road conditions. You can also download their free smartphone app in the Apple and Android app stores.
Alcohol-related traffic fatalities tend to spike in the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. In fact, approximately 50 percent of all traffic fatalities occurring on New Year’s Day involve at least one intoxicated driver. While hundreds of people die each holiday season due to drunk driving, thousands more sustain injuries in alcohol-involved accidents.
It is not safe to get behind the wheel of a car with any amount of alcohol in your system – even with a blood alcohol level below the legal limit. If you are an abstainer and don’t drink at all, you may still be at risk. With an influx of impaired drivers on the roads this time of year, try to avoid driving late at night when intoxicated revelers may be leaving parties or bars to go home. Most importantly, buckle up anytime you ride in a vehicle, regardless of how short your trip may be.
When drivers fail to get an adequate amount of sleep, they may be less responsive to dangerous situations and also more likely to fall asleep at the wheel. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 72,000 accidents are caused by drowsy driving every year. During a season when people are attending holiday parties, working extra hours, hosting family gatherings, and ringing in the New Year at midnight, it comes as no surprise that drowsy driving can be a problem. Be sure to look out for drivers who may be drifting in and out of their lane. Also, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep before getting behind the wheel yourself. If you find yourself yawning, blinking a lot, hitting the rumble strips on the road, or having difficulty recalling the past several miles, pull over to rest.
If it seems like the holidays bring out the worst in other drivers, you are right. Aggressive driving tends to spike during the holidays, when heavy traffic, sleep deprivation, and general stress from the season can lead to a short fuse. When possible, leave early to reach your destination and avoid taking congested routes. Of course be prepared for delays, and never engage with an angry driver exhibiting signs of road rage.
While there are many things that can put a damper on the holidays, if you plan ahead and pay attention to others, you can decrease the chance of having an accident or filing a claim during the holidays.
Be safe and have a happy holiday season!