Distracted Driving this Holiday Season

Distracted driving this holiday seasonIt’s the most wonderful time of the year.The wonderful baking smells permeating the air. Two days-worth of insane cooking; all consumed within 20 minutes!  The ritual of selecting a tree (sometimes cutting it down ourselves) and putting it up with handmade decorations. And don’t forget the special packages under the tree.

For me, that joy  came to an abrupt stop when my son Hunter was killed in a car crash involving distracted driving when he was 16 years old. That’s the last holiday season I enjoyed. Now all the festivities serve as a reminder of our deep loss.

Accidents involving distracted drivers can be prevented. Here’s how you can cut down on distracted driving this holiday season:

Be careful!

I share this to remind everyone that this should be a time of great joy, but also a time to be careful. The holidays are a time of year when millions hit the road. Traveling home over the Thanksgiving weekend. College students out on winter break. Visiting friends and family for Hanukah and Christmas. Enjoying parties and celebrations during the season.

Don’t drive distracted!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving
  • In 2012, an estimated 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver; this is a nine percent increase from the previous year.
  • 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash.

Our youngest drivers make up the largest proportion of drivers who drive distracted. Put the phone away until you meet your destination.

Wear your seatbelt!

In 2012, 301 people were killed in traffic crashes during Thanksgiving weekend across the nation; 60% of those were not buckled up. So please, wear your seatbelt! It’s so simple.

Don’t drink and drive!

During the 2012 holiday season, 1,829 people were killed on our nation’s roads and almost a third of those were due to drunk driving. If you’re partying, please call a friend. Or a taxi. Don’t take the risk. Your life is too precious.

All of these occasions increase the risks of car crashes because of the added number of cars on the road. Those who celebrate a little too much. Rushing about, shopping, anxious to get home. So it’s wise to add a bit of precaution. Be smart. Use your head. Make this season one that will always bring joy.

(Statistics provided by NHTSA)

As mother of the late Hunter Garner and founder of Project Yellow Light, Julie Garner has has a passion for distracted driving. You can learn more about Project Yellow light on their website, follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Have you been affected by distracted driving? Let us know below.