Christmas and New Year are dangerous


Human nature has a traditional approach to the future. Unless there’s a particular reason to worry, most people just assume everything will turn out alright. This is particularly true when it involves an everyday activity whether it be cooking or driving. Most people of average ability assume they can produce the standard fare to eat on high days and holidays. The family has gone through the ritual time and time again throughout the years. Why should anything go wrong this time? It’s the same when people jump into their vehicles to go visit friends. They have been driving to and from work throughout the year. How can holidays be any different?

Well let’s take North Carolina as an example of the possible problems. This year’s twelve days of Christmas starts on the evening of Friday, December 20 and run through Wednesday, January 1. Because of all the visiting between family and friends, this makes this period the longest driving holiday of the year during which some 2.8 million drivers are likely to make at least one social journey of fifty or more miles. Indeed, when it comes to the choice of transport, almost everyone decides to drive. Public transport is not particularly efficient during the rest of the year and the quality of service does not improve over Christmas. Indeed, most taxi drivers impose a surcharge because they say this time of year represents antisocial hours when they could be out celebrating, so they deserve more to drive others.

So everyone should put their seat belts on, never text their friends to say they are on the way, and avoid any drinking if they are the designated drivers. During this twelve days last year, thirty-seven people died, 38% were killed by drunk drivers and 43% of those who died were not wearing their sea belts. As an incentive to drive their own vehicles, gas prices are down this year and rental rates are up.

Looking at the national picture, drunk driving is always a problem at this time of year with people holding parties most evenings leading up to “the big one” at New Year for the countdown. No matter how intensively the law enforcement officers patrol, they can only “catch” a tiny percentage of those who are risking themselves and others. All they can do if pick the survivors out of the wreckage and stop the ones showing the most obvious symptoms of danger, e.g. driving too fast and swerving from side to side. It’s not practical to arrest everyone who drinks and drives. As we look to the north, there’s been heavy snow this year which adds to the danger as some people who have been caught in accidents have been forced to wait longer for rescue in the cold. Such stories should alert people to the need to plan ahead with emergency blankets and supplies to ensure survival in the event of breakdown or crash. With these thoughts in mind, the site wishes everyone a safe holiday period.

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