Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again! The fall and winter holidays are upon us, and even though gatherings will probably be smaller and closer to home this year, many of us will still hit the road to celebrate the season. In fact, as lots of people choose to avoid flying this year, there may be more cars than ever on New Mexico’s local roads and interstate highways. We live in a world with plenty of risks right now, so take a moment to learn about how to avoid the risks you could face as you travel over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house this year.
Holiday Driving Hazards
It doesn’t really matter where you live in New Mexico or how far you are traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas—you will likely have some common driving hazards to contend with. Given the lovely weather we usually have in New Mexico, you probably won’t encounter snow, ice, or rain on your route, unless you are traveling through the mountains or we experience a freak winter storm. More common hazards in our state during the holidays include:
- Drunk drivers. For some people, it wouldn’t be a holiday without alcohol. Unfortunately, as you are driving your children home from Grandma’s, others are heading to the next party after already having had a drink or two. Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are notorious for drunk driving crashes, so it is essential that you are aware of the danger and keep far away from erratic drivers. Avoiding trips late at night can also help you avoid a run-in with a drunk driver.
- Driving distractions. A carload of family, festive spirits, Christmas music on the radio, and excited children can make your car a distraction on wheels. Encourage your passengers to save the celebrating until you arrive at your destination and make an extra effort to focus on driving. You will not have this control over other drivers, however, so you should be aware that other drivers may not be focused on the road and take steps to avoid them.
- High-pressure situations. The holidays can bring out the worst in people. Fights between spouses, cranky kids, tight timelines for family meals—not to mention the financial and work stress caused by the holiday season—can lead to speeding and aggressive driving. Whether you are the stressed-out driver or you encounter one as you mind your own business, it is important to take a deep breath and remember that safely arriving home is more important than anything else.
- Fatigue. After an early morning putting in the turkey or opening presents followed by a day of celebrating, it can be hard to stay alert on the return trip at the end of the day. Not staying too late, perking up with a cup of coffee, or turning over the wheel when your eyelids get too heavy are all ways to avoid a drowsy driving crash. Again, being aware that other drivers might be sleepy is key to avoiding a crash caused by someone else.
Many serious accidents—including fatal ones—occur within just a few miles of home, so it doesn’t really matter if you are headed across the state or across town. You could still encounter one of these hazards and wind up in the hospital instead of tucked snugly in your bed this holiday season.
What to Do If You Are Hurt in an Accident
Unfortunately, we may take every possible precaution to be safe on the road and still be in a crash caused by someone else’s poor decision. If another driver’s carelessness or negligence caused the crash that endangered your family this holiday, you need to speak to car accident attorneys with years of successful cases under their belts. At the Albuquerque office of Keller & Keller, we have seen every kind of vehicle crash imaginable—at all times of year—and we can help you hold the driver who caused your crash accountable for the damage he has done. We are available 365 days a year, so do not hesitate to reach out to our team if your holiday is turned upside down by a tragic vehicle crash.