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Don’t let a distracted driver ruin your Christmas

It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but Christmas can also be the most stressful. From buying presents to planning get-togethers, your never-ending to-do list keeps growing. But you know how important it is to stay safe no matter how much you have going on. Other Pennsylvania residents might not feel the same way, as you are more likely to encounter a distracted driver during the Christmas season than on an average day.

Since smartphones are very common, small enough to carry around and easily accessible, you might use your phone to organize your Christmas plans and write your gift shopping list. Sadly, smartphones have a very strong hold on some people, and it is difficult for them to put their phones away. For these drivers, it can be very hard to focus on the road. This does not excuse distracted driving behavior, so you should be aware of just how big this problem is.

Christmas is prime time for distracted drivers

TrueMotion used sensor data to monitor 3,000 drivers’ phone usage between Nov. 18, 2017 and Jan. 3, 2018. Starting on Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Eve, drivers use their phones far more frequently than during the rest of the year. On Christmas day, distracted driving levels are 33% higher than an average weekday, and 26% higher on New Year’s Eve.

Drivers are also more worried about getting to holiday events than they are about getting to work on time. Speeding goes up 44% on Christmas and 40% on New Year’s Day. If phones preoccupy drivers while they are also speeding, avoiding collisions might be impossible.

Talking is not much better than texting

Drivers have to take their eyes off the road to text, update social media or read emails. However, even drivers who acknowledge that these are dangerous behaviors might feel differently about talking on the phone. This is not the case. Dialing a phone raises the risk of causing a crash by a whopping 1,200%. Talking on a handheld phone increases that same risk by 220%.

The same data from TrueMotion that shows drivers are more distracted at Christmas time also shows that they are talking on the phone less often. This includes both hands-free and handheld calls. In 2017, there was a 45% decrease in drivers making phone calls during the holidays. This might not paint a complete picture, though. Since distracted driving is still far more common during this time of the year, drivers may simply be replacing talking on the phone with other behaviors, such as texting.

Distracted drivers put everyone at risk

Laws and safety regulations are supposed to keep Pennsylvania drivers safe. You know this, so even though this is a busy time of year, you make sure that your phone and other distractions are not a problem. Not everyone is so courteous. Distracted drivers ultimately prioritize their own desires — such as texting friends that they are running late — over others’ safety.

There is never a good time to suffer a serious injury, but Christmas time is especially hard since you have to focus on your own recovery instead of the holiday. But you do not have to give up the joy of the holiday. When you decide to file a personal injury claim to hold a distracted driver responsible for his or her behavior, you may be able to better focus on both your recovery and enjoying time with your family. A Pennsylvania attorney can tell you more about this option.