The average American home has 2.28 vehicles. With the holiday shopping season in full swing, you can be assured that many of these cars will be coming to an interstate, residential street, or commercial parking lot near you. While it can be fun to shop for friends and family members during the holidays, it also can be dangerous. Because more cars will be on the roads, more drivers will be faced with heavy traffic and congestion at all hours of the day and night in areas that are not always well suited for such volume.  

To make matters worse, drivers can frequently be seen texting, talking on phones, fiddling with GPS units or the radio, emailing, eating, reading directions, dealing with their kids in the backseat, applying makeup, and doing other tasks when they should be focused on one thing: their driving. Increased cars and drivers on the road means that more car accidents will occur. We have all read about drivers who have caused fatal accidents: some of the drivers are drunk, some are careless and inattentive, some are inexperienced and easily distracted, and some fit into all of those categories.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that more than 1 in 4 deaths on US Roadways involve hitting a hazard, not another vehicle. As a result, you should always be on the lookout for anything that could be a hazard to you. The National Safety Counsel reports that 66% of fatal accidents are the result of improper driving, including: driving at unsafe speeds, failing to yield, driving under the influence, running red lights and stop signs, following too closely, and making improper turns. Here are a few safety tips for driving during the holiday season:

  • Don’t drink and drive. If you’re intoxicated or under the influence of on any type of alcohol or drug, call a cab or a trusted friend or parent. Otherwise, you risk causing a fatal accident, you risk losing your license, your freedom, and your life.
  • Don’t talk on the phone while driving–even hands-free phones are very distracting to drivers.
  • Don’t drive if you’re tired.
  • Don’t text, email, fiddle with the GPS or radio, read, deal with the kids, or do anything else that distracts you from driving.
  • Don’t run red lights or stop signs.  
  • Don’t tailgate other vehicles.
  • Don’t drive aggressively. If another driver makes a mistake, don’t have “road rage.” Instead, keep a safe following distance at all times.  
  • Drive at a safe speed. Always remember to drive defensively when you are on the roadways, and never assume that the other driver is being careful and attentive to his or her driving.  
  • Yield to other cars where required.  
  • Watch out for pedestrians.  
  • Use common sense behind the wheel and follow the rules and laws of the road.
  • Be smart and be safe. When driving, remember that not only your life is at risk, but the lives of your passengers and everyone else on the roadway.