Car accidents in Oregon or Washington can happen at any time, even to the most cautious drivers. You may drive defensively, but sometimes factors beyond your control can lead to a serious car accident. During the holidays, the likelihood of a crash increases because of the several unique driving conditions involved. December can be considered one of the most dangerous months for drivers because of the holidays. In particular, there are four hazards that are especially common this time of the year:
- Distracted driving
- Impaired driving
- Pressured driving
- Fatigued driving
Even if you’re practicing safe driving habits, other drivers may be driving under the influence of one or more of these hazards.
“When accompanied by poor road conditions, these four dangerous behind-the-wheel behaviors combine into a perfect storm of risk for drivers,” explained driver safety expert Doug Horn, who founded driving safety program “Drive by Example.”
Distracted driving is commonly the result of a driver using their phone to text or make calls while driving. During the holidays, drivers might be more tempted to do so when coordinating plans with their friends and family. They may also be browsing the web to check store hours or inventory when shopping for gifts.
Late-night celebrations are well-established traditions during the holidays. In many cases, they involve alcohol and drug use. The dangers of impaired driving are compounded during poor weather in December, increasing the likelihood of impaired drivers causing an accident.
“An increase in the number of impaired drivers using the roadways during the winter holidays has been well-established by law enforcement, and the loss of life resulting from impaired driving is also well-established,” says Horn.
“The winter holidays typically bring with them increased pressures, especially financial pressures and the stress created by trying to do too much in a short time span. Drivers often react to these pressures by driving too fast for conditions, making aggressive lane changes, failing to yield right-of-way, and generally disregarding the needs and safety of others using the road,” according to Horn.
The holiday season is incredibly stressful. People are working more hours to afford gifts, fitting shopping into tight schedules, and spending long nights attending social events. Even losing only an hour of sleep can have a dramatic effect on driving safety.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that people who slept six to seven hours a night were twice as likely to be involved in a crash compared to those sleeping eight hours or more. Sleeping less than five hours increases that risk by four to five times.
Injured in a crash? Take action!
If you were injured in an Oregon car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. But you often won’t automatically receive such compensation. It’s important to take strong legal action and contact an experienced automobile accident law firm. That way, you can make sure your rights are properly protected. Call or email a car accident attorney today at Zbinden & Curtis for your free and confidential consultation.