Holidays Lead to More People on Roads

With an estimated 91.9 million people traveling this holiday season, 30 percent of the U.S. population will have traveled 50 miles or more from home during the longest holiday season of the year. In Illinois alone, 4.25 million people were expected to drive to their holiday destinations.

In addition to this extra holiday traffic, the unpredictable weather that normally occurs during winter can result in more traffic crashes on the roads and highways. With more drivers on the roads, there are a greater number of cars that can become involved in car accidents. Additional holiday traffic also increases the number of distracted drivers. Whether drivers text, talk on cellphones, drink or eat, play with their GPS, or change the radio station, driver distraction can lead to car crashes. The more drivers there are on the roads, the more likely it is to come across one who is engaging in an activity that distracts them from driving, increasing the chance of a wreck.

In addition, winter weather can add to the chance of a car accident during the holiday season. Icy weather conditions can result in traffic accidents if drivers do not leave enough space between them and the vehicles ahead, as stopping quickly on icy roads is nearly impossible. Failure to properly maintain a vehicle for winter weather can also be an issue that results in traffic accidents. Visibility can be a problem if a car runs out of wiper fluid during a snow storm or if the wiper fluid is not "no-freeze," and non-working windshield wipers and defrosters can also be problematic. Sudden snow storms can also leave drivers unprepared; without snow tires or with inadequately inflated tires that can make it more difficult to stop in icy conditions. All of these can increase the risk of a traffic wreck.

During the tough winter driving season, all drivers should be aware of the conditions and should avoid doing anything that takes their attention away from the road. Making sure vehicles are maintained for any changes in condition will help drivers reach their destinations safely.