Drive safely this holiday season

Published 7:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2014

It is once again the time of year for office Christmas parties and family get-togethers, and while these are fun and exciting occasions, it is important to be responsible.
A big part of that responsibility is driving safely. Every year, the number of driving fatalities increases during the holiday season. With more people on the road travelling longer distances, there is a greater risk of accidents due to driver fatigue or other traffic issues.
Motorists should be sure to get plenty of rest before their day of travel. The dangers of drowsy driving are well documented. The National Sleep Foundation released statistics from a 2005 study stating that nearly 60 percent of adult Americans have admitted to driving drowsy, and 37 percent have actually fallen asleep behind the wheel.
The American Automotive Association for Traffic Safety’s website states that nearly 1,500 people die in accidents caused by drowsy drivers each year. The AAA advises taking breaks and travelling with a companion to reduce the risk of an accident. Another tip is to avoid medication and alcohol.
During the holiday season of travel, alcohol plays a significant and frightening role in the number of fatal accidents. Forbes released an article stating that more than 40 percent of motor vehicle fatalities on New Year’s and Christmas Day are caused due to drinking and driving.
Many people enjoy going out to celebrate the New Year or having a few drinks with friends who are home for the holidays, but it is important to understand the effect of alcohol and how quickly one can become impaired.
Too often motorists are concerned with whether or not it is legal for them to drive instead of wondering if it is safe. If there is any doubt, then there is no reason to risk driving.
Secure a designated driver or plan ahead to have a place to stay the night. The inconvenience of taking a taxi on Jan. 1, 2015 far outweighs the possibility of a life b

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