People generally consider the last few months of the year collectively as “the holiday season.” From Halloween and Thanksgiving to Christmas and New Year’s, there is no shortage of reasons to gather with friends and family. Unfortunately, this heightened level of mirth making can lead to dangerous roadway scenarios.
While drunk drivers are always a danger on both city streets and highways, the holiday season increases their numbers.
Whether traveling for a holiday vacation, running to the store for a last-minute purchase, or commuting to or from work, increased traffic means increased danger. For example, the National Safety Council estimated that between 288 and 395 people would die in fatal traffic accidents on the four-day Christmas weekend (Thursday through Sunday) in 2020. These numbers are expected to increase in 2021 as the country slowly emerges from pandemic business closures and travel restrictions.
Why is this a problem?
Much like distracted drivers or drowsy drivers, drunk drivers often lose the capacity to stay focused on the road. From blurred perceptions and dulled reaction times to falling asleep at the wheel, drunk drivers often represent a serious hazard on Pennsylvania roads. Common collisions can include:
- Rear-end collisions: Drunk drivers often fail to recognize stopped or slowed traffic in front of them. By not stopping or slowing their own vehicle, they run the risk of crashing into the vehicles directly ahead of them.
- Front-end collisions: Whether they fall asleep at the wheel or simply lose the motor function necessary to stay in their own lanes, drunk drivers often drift into oncoming lanes of traffic. Head-on collisions can result in catastrophic injuries and fatality to vehicle occupants.
- Side-impact collisions: Also known as a T-bone collision, this type of crash often occurs when a drunk driver fails to stop at an intersection and wrecks into the side of a vehicle in a perpendicular traffic lane.
Accidents caused by drunk drivers are often violent collisions due to the lack of any slowing or attempt at avoidance. These crashes can result in a range of catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputation and burn injuries. It is wise to remain alert on the roads during the holiday season.