Articles Posted in Holiday Travel

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Falling asleep behind the wheel is much more common than we think, and it is probably for this reason that most people have plenty of suggestions to offer to prevent car accidents caused by sleepiness.  However, many of these techniques simply do not work, and in some cases, may actually make the sleepiness worse and increase your risk of being involved in a car accident.

The Cleveland Clinic has, for decades, studied sleep deprivation and its special effects on a person’s ability to drive safely. Sleep experts at the Cleveland Clinic say that there are several myths and misconceptions when it comes to staying awake while driving.  Most motorists believe that snacking while driving, rolling down the car window and slapping or punching yourself can keep sleep at bay.  Not only do these techniques not work effectively, but they can also actually increase sleepiness, thereby exacerbating your risk of being involved in a car accident.

Take snacking, for instance.  If you are snacking on chips or other high carb foods while driving and you have already started feeling sleepy, the snacking is only going to make the drowsiness worse. Once these foods metabolize and are eliminated from your bloodstream, you are immediately going to feel even more sleepy.  Slapping and pinching yourself while driving only causes you physical pain, and does little to stimulate the part of the brain that needs to wake up in order for you to feel alert and fresh.

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Record  numbers of motorists are expected to throng Georgia highways this Thanksgiving, and  traffic enforcement agencies are warning of a higher risk of auto accidents. This is true with all holidays, but especially with holidays that result in extended days off for many workers. All holidays of this nature see a spike in the number of car accidents and, unfortunately, wrongful deaths.

This year, authorities are gearing up for a significant increase in the number of motorists on Georgia’s roads and highways.  Across the metro Atlanta region and beyond, families will be traveling to meet up with friends and relatives as they celebrate the holiday under more normal circumstances.  Over the past three years, roadway travel over the Thanksgiving holiday dropped significantly.   This year, however, the story is markedly different. Authorities believe that there is likely to be an increase of approximately 26,000 motorists on Georgia roads over the Thanksgiving holiday compared to the same period of time last year.

Not only is Thanksgiving a time when people typically travel, but this year the crowds are expected to be even more intense since this is the first holiday since the pandemic that conditions are expected to be relatively normal. Georgians, in general, are traveling much more than they were during the pandemic, and vehicle miles traveled have increased significantly.

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The weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day are often referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teen drivers.  Safety organizations are asking parents to pay attention to their children’s driving habits in order to reduce the risk of fatal auto accidents.

Car accidents are a major risk for teen drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that auto accidents are the second biggest factor in teen deaths.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2020, 1,885 teen drivers lost their lives in car accidents.  That was an increase of 17% from the previous year.  Close to 190,000 drivers were injured in traffic accidents in 2020.

Teen drivers are at risk of being personally injured or killed in all types of car accidents including alcohol-related auto accidents, distracted driving car accidents and speeding- related car crashes. In 2020, 29% of teen drivers killed in car accidents had some amount of alcohol in their system at the time of the accident, while 82% of those persons had a blood alcohol concentration limits that were higher than the legal limit of .08.

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There were a total of 20 deaths recorded in auto accidents across the state of Georgia over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety recently released statistics related to the number of car accidents and deaths that occurred within the state’s borders over this year’s Fourth of July weekend.  The holiday weekend typically sees a significant number of traffic auto accidents resulting in personal injuries and deaths, and this year was no different.  In fact, the number of people killed in car accidents over the holiday weekend this year was higher than in the previous two years.  However, it was a drop from the 26 deaths that were recorded in 2019.

The number of deaths was significantly higher this year compared to last year.  In 2021, there were a total of 11 fatalities recorded over the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Georgia.  Those deaths were recorded over a holiday weekend that lasted for 54 hours. This year, even though the holiday weekend lasted for a total of 78 hours, the number of people killed in car accidents was actually close to 100% higher. In fact, the number of auto crash deaths crossed the 17 mark just 48 hours into the holiday weekend, making it much higher when compared to last year. A total of 295 auto accidents were reported to state troopers out of which 171 resulted in personal injuries.

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As the bad news on distracted driving continues to grow, there is some good news in the war against drunk driving. A new study indicates that the popularity of ridesharing apps like Lyft and Uber is contributing to a drop in drunk driving collisions.

The study was conducted in New York, and focused on those areas of the city that had been very quick to adopt Uber. Researchers compared accident rates in each of the city’s five boroughs, and found that the rate of alcohol-related car collisions dropped significantly in those boroughs which had quickly adopted Uber. In Staten Island, where Uber took a longer time to gain popularity, the rate remained the same. Earlier reports have also indicated some impact of ridesharing apps on people’s decisions and actions related to driving after consuming alcohol.

However, another study conducted last July yielded vastly different findings. According to data collected from around the country, ridesharing seems to have no effect on the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents on weekends or major holidays. Those researchers point to the fact that there still aren’t enough ridesharing drivers on the road to actually make a dent in the high rates of intoxicated driving on major holidays and weekends.

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One of the most distracting activities behind the wheel does not involve any kind of electronic device. The simple act of eating or snacking while driving can significantly increase your risks of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.

According to researchers, a person’s crash risk increases by as much as 70% when he’s driving while eating or drinking.  Any kind of behavior that takes your hand away from the steering wheel and your eyes off the road, constitutes a distraction while driving.  Avoiding these behaviors is one important way to keep safe while traveling.  Whether you are chowing down a breakfast during the morning rush hour, or snacking on the way home, your risks of an accident are magnified.

Unfortunately, while many motorists seem to appreciate the dangers of using a cell phone or texting while driving, they may not fully understand the dangers of snacking while driving. Let’s face it. We have all snacked or sipped a beverage while driving at some point.  According to one study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers between the ages of 40 and 50 are much more likely to snack while driving, compared to drivers of other age groups.  Drivers between the ages of 20 and 30 are next on the list, followed by drivers between the ages of 16 and 17. People also tend to snack and drive more frequently when they are alone, compared to when they are with other passengers.

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Times have changed. While this may be the most wonderful time of the year, recent headlines have carried more misfortune and tragedy than any of us care to see.

Terrorism is a real and present danger in the world today, and the threat persists even here in our homeland.

History has taught us to associate terrorism with travel and days of significance. Indeed, the national terror threat level often rises during periods of peak travel, including the winter holiday season. That makes December a time for not only celebration but also the exercise of caution.

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Whether or not you’ll be home for Christmas, the holiday season is always a busy travel time. This year is slated to be even busier than usual. Due to the improving economy and the low price of gas, AAA predicts that 2014 will have the busiest holiday travel on record, with nearly 99 million Americans traveling more than 50 miles. Air travel is also expected to increase this year, to 5.7 million travelers.

The last days before Christmas are a particularly dangerous time to be on the roads, as people are rushing to finish their holiday shopping or leaving for trips out of town. For those wanting to avoid the worst of the traffic, traveling on the actual holiday may be your best bet. Fewer people are on the roads on Christmas and Christmas Eve.

Winter weather is another factor that makes holiday travel hazardous. Snow and sleet make roads dangerous and safe driving difficult. If you can’t avoid being on the roads this holiday season, here are some tips to make your journey safer:
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