It’s that time of year again! The air outside turns crisp, the leaves change color, and the traffic jams on your morning commute get even worse. While no one expects to get into a car accident during holiday travels, it’s unfortunately more likely than you think. According to insurance analytics firm A.M. Best Co., crashes happen at a high rate over the holidays—more than 25 percent higher than normal. With all the rushing around and traveling during the holiday season, it’s easy to see how many accidents can happen. To combat those statistics, there are several ways you can prepare to stay safe on Arizona roads during the holiday travel season and to minimize your chances of getting into an accident during this hectic time of year.
Be Proactive About Drunk Drivers
While most people avoid driving while intoxicated, encountering drunk drivers on the road during the holiday season is still a concern. Many roads are filled with celebratory holiday parties on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s. You can recognize an impaired driver by their driving behavior such as swerving across lanes, driving slowly, or stopping erratically. If you believe someone is driving impaired and could be an imminent threat to your safety, call 911. If a drunk driver hits you, there are steps to take after a car accident that will help get you compensated for your injuries.
This holiday season, if you’re hosting a party and your friends or family drink responsibly, make sure they leave their car keys with you and catch a ride with a designated driver or a rideshare service. By having control of their keys, you’ll be able to ensure they get home safely if there is any cause for concern. In addition, regardless of whether you serve alcohol at your party, it never hurts to remind everyone that drinking makes us more vulnerable behind the wheel – so have designated drivers ready just in case!
If you are driving through Arizona and end up being involved in an accident with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Arizona’s laws protect against accidents involving drivers who operate vehicles while intoxicated. If a drunk driver injures or kills someone due to negligent or reckless operation of their vehicle – including if that driver is charged with DUI manslaughter – they can face legal repercussions such as criminal charges and civil lawsuits. Make sure you know your rights if another person gets behind the wheel after drinking excessively or using drugs – and make sure you receive adequate medical treatment in case you have been injured during an accident caused by someone else’s negligence! Even if it doesn’t seem like your injury warrants legal action, even slight damages from car crashes might still qualify as valid claims when it comes to personal injury law. Seek out qualified legal counsel who knows how Arizona’s laws apply to your specific situation so that they can help facilitate positive resolutions in your case.
If a loved one is considering driving through Arizona on any major holiday during a time when alcohol-serving establishments are most likely open for business, make sure they know about these hidden dangers beforehand. Remember these tips if you plan on traveling through Arizona around any major holiday—and keep them handy next time an out-of-state friend asks how to avoid getting arrested while they enjoy the Grand Canyon State’s hospitality.
Ensure Your Car Is Well Maintained
Making sure your car is well maintained helps you avoid accidents. Before traveling, especially during times when there are more cars on the road than usual, make sure your vehicle is up to snuff—that means putting snow tires on your car if you plan to drive it through an area that receives heavy snowfall. A good rule of thumb? If you live in one of Arizona’s higher elevations (such as Flagstaff or Sedona), put those snow tires on in early December. That way, if Mother Nature decides to throw down some snow right around Christmas time, you won’t be caught off guard. In addition to making sure your tires are ready for whatever conditions lie ahead, double-check your battery connections—even if you don’t live where severe winter weather is expected.
While regularly checking your oil and tire pressure is a part of every safe driver’s checklist, it’s advisable to do so before any long road trip to ensure that everything is safe and well-maintained before you hit the road. You might also want to take a look at your car’s brakes since those can be difficult to notice until they fail—and prevent you from stopping. Similarly, keeping an eye on your car’s lights will help you avoid accidents during inclement weather. If they aren’t working properly, even if it isn’t night yet or it isn’t raining yet, get your windshield wipers checked out right away!
Make it a point to drive with extra caution during these months so you don’t miss something that could cause an accident. When taking care of other holiday preparations (like buying gifts), don’t neglect these relatively simple tasks that keep you safe behind the wheel as well.
Arizona Holiday Road Trip Car Maintenence Checklist:
- Get your brakes checked
- Get an oil change
- Check tire pressure
- Check your tire’s tread for cracks
- Install new windshield wipers
- Check your headlights
- Ensure your brake lights are working properly
- Check your windshield for cracks
- Test your car battery to see if it needs to be replaced
Get Adequate Rest Before Driving
If you’re traveling during your holiday break, it can be tempting to stay up late or get up early to get where you need to go. Make sure to get adequate rest before hitting the road; if possible, schedule a little extra time for travel so that you have time to sleep or relax. Studies have shown that driving while tired is similar to driving under influence of alcohol (0.1% BAC). Taking care of yourself physically and mentally plays a role in making good decisions while driving. So, eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep is important. Not only does a poor diet leave us feeling sluggish but studies have shown that sleep deprivation significantly affects reaction time. And when you’re behind the wheel, that half-second delay might be enough to get someone hurt—or killed, so make sure you’re at your best when behind the wheel. No one wants an accident on their hands—especially when it comes with expensive legal bills!
Don’t Be Distracted While Driving
Distracted driving has become a serious problem that doesn’t seem to be going away. It is estimated that about 6,000 people die every year from auto accidents caused by distracted drivers and many more are injured. To help keep the chance of a holiday season car accident down, make it a habit to heed the following recommendations.
- Don’t use your phone: Even with hands-free technology, driving while distracted can lead to accidents. If you need to make a call or check text messages or emails, pull over before doing so. It may seem like it takes extra time—and it does—but at least you won’t face expensive legal fees because of distracted driving. It’s also wise to disable notifications on your phone while you drive; they’re tempting distractions that can wait until after you stop driving.
- Be aware of what’s going on around you: Distracted drivers often miss important information such as traffic lights and pedestrians. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and don’t be afraid to turn off the radio or roll down your windows so that you aren’t tempted by outside noise during your drives.
- Wear seat belts: You should wear seat belts whenever operating a vehicle; however, wearing them is even more important when there are passengers involved. Make sure everyone buckles up every time!
- Mind crosswalks and school zones: School zones usually have signs posted about how slow drivers should go; if there aren’t any posted near a school, then try driving through slowly just to be safe!
Find an Experienced Arizona Car Accident Attorney
If someone does drive drunk and ends up involving you in an accident, remember that qualified legal counsel can provide you valuable support by advocating on your behalf throughout legal proceedings. Law firms may also be able to help if a loved one has been injured by another person’s negligence while operating a vehicle. You never know when something bad might happen – so it’s always better to have an emergency contact prepared beforehand.
If you’ve been involved in an accident with a distracted driver or any type of motor vehicle accident, The Bryson Law Firm can provide expert legal representation as you pursue your case through litigation or arbitration. If you’re seeking legal representation for a car crash that happened in Arizona, contact Bryson Law at (480) 813-0444 to schedule an appointment at our East Valley location.