• Tom Girardi

Why is the holiday season the most dangerous time for driving?

You may not have to worry about snow, ice and all manner of wintry weather in Southern California, but that doesn't mean your holiday travel won't be without its dangers. As you schedule your parties and other holiday gatherings with family, friends and colleagues, you should also plan your routes.

Winter weather aside, the end of a year is a busy for many people. Even your holiday shopping could have you on the road much more than normal. You travel packed roads to packed parking lots and, after you shop, you do the whole thing again in reverse.

Watch out for certain dangers during the holiday season

The three or four days surrounding a holiday are the most dangerous times for travelers. What are the biggest dangers you face during your holiday travel? Consider the following:

Hurry, hurry: People tend to be under a great deal of pressure during the holidays as they get ready for all kinds of gatherings, shop and keep up with all of their ordinary obligations. This stress can easily cause someone who would ordinarily drive safely to engage in careless behavior behind the wheel.

Distractions: Drivers may spend even more time on their phones while they drive as they attempt to handle all of their holiday tasks.

Sleep deprivation: Numerous obligations and engagements often mean less sleep than usual during this time of year. Did you know that drowsy driving can make a driver just as dangerous as a drunk driver?

Drinking and driving: No discussion about holiday travel dangers would be complete without addressing impaired driving. Holiday parties, family gatherings and more often means more drunk drivers on the road. Statistics show that during the days around Christmas and New Year's Eve, approximately 304 people lose their lives in crashes involving a drunk driver.

All drivers should be extra careful during this time of year. You never know the condition of the drivers in the vehicles around you. If you do encounter a driver hindered by any of the above dangerous driving habits, you may not have time to react before a collision occurs. Stay safe while you drive, and enjoy the time spent with family and friends.