Safe Driving Tips for the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for celebration.  However, they can be a dangerous time of the year, as statistics report an increased risk of injurious and fatal motor vehicle accidents.  The Illinois Department of Transportation’s report on holiday accidents shows that in 2011, 13 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents over the Fourth of July weekend.  875 people were injured as well.  In 2010, 10 people were killed and 539 were injured.  In 2009, 11 people were killed and 539 people were injured over Independence Day weekend.  An increased risk in motor vehicle accidents is true in other states as well, as 12 people were killed in Georgia over the July Fourth weekend.  (

What factors are behind these accidents?  The vast amounts of people driving to and from vacation and celebration destinations increase the risk of accidents.  On average, 38.9 million Americans travel at least 50 miles from home over the Fourth of July weekend.  Alcohol also plays a significant role in fatal accidents.  Illinois statistics show that out of the thirteen fatal accidents in 2011, nine involved a driver that consumed alcohol.  In 2010, seven out of the ten fatalities involved an inebriated driver, while in 2009 five out of the eleven involved an inebriated driver.  Speeding, roadway distractions, and in-vehicle distractions also affect road safety, and these factors are increased around the holidays.

The Fourth of July weekend is not the only dangerous holiday—accidents rise during other major holidays as well.  Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s pose a greater risk of accidents.  Consistent with July Fourth, larger numbers of people and vehicles create this increased risk of accidents.  It is imperative to use more caution during these times.  If you plan on celebrating the holidays, make sure you have a safe way home before the celebration begins.  If you will be consuming alcohol, make sure you have a sober driver or another safe way home.  Follow this link to AAA’s survival tips for driving around the holidays for more safe driving measures.  (


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