Remember to practice safe driving during holidays

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 26, 2016

After the Thanksgiving holiday, reports across the country came in about vehicle accidents, some resulting in deaths.

These accidents can serve as a reminder of the dangers of driving. The holiday season brings holiday parties. For adults, that sometimes means consuming alcohol.

According the Department of Transportation, more people travel during Thanksgiving and Christmas than any other time of the year. During Thanksgiving, long-distance travel increases by 54 percent. During Christmas, that figure is 23 percent.

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With that many vehicles on the road, the rate of accidents increases.

In 2015, the number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased by 3.2 percent nationwide.

Drivers shouldn’t consume alcohol before getting behind the wheel. They could be putting themselves, and others on the road, in severe danger.

However, alcohol isn’t the only thing that can impair your driving abilities during the holidays.

Driving while drowsy or tired also increases your likelihood of veering off the road or dozing at the wheel. It also slows reaction time, inhibiting one’s ability to react to a traffic light or obstacle on the road.

Consuming large amounts of food can make most people sleepy. If you plan to drive a long distance, make sure you have plenty of rest and take breaks to re-energize your body. Sitting still in a car for hours can be hard on your body, stopping every couple of hours to stretch will ensure drivers remain alert.

Driving home at night can also pose a risky situation. Be sure to obey the speed limit and keep headlights on, especially while travelling on rural highways without streetlights.

During the colder months, deer can also be seen crossing the roadway. Driving slowly and staying alert can prevent deer strikes that cause serious damage to both parties.

Following these tips will help ensure your family has a safe and merry holiday season.