The Worst Holidays To Be Out on the Road
The holiday season brings a lot of travel. Some families take advantage of the time off from school and work to take a memorable trip across the country. Others cross long distances to make it home in time for the family gathering. No matter the reason, there are certain holidays that bring extra traffic—and extra danger—to the road. Wintry conditions, impatient travelers, and drunk drivers create additional hazards on the journey. Unfortunately, you can’t always avoid traveling during the holidays. If your plans include a long drive, make sure to anticipate heavy traffic and more aggressive drivers. Stay aware and stay safe whenever you travel during these worst holidays to be out on the road.
When Thanksgiving comes around, families gather from far and wide to feast on turkey, watch football, and enjoy each other’s company. As a result, travel reaches a peak around this holiday. Many people work the day before Thanksgiving, which means the holiday itself is full of last-minute travelers rushing to get home in time for dinner. This can lead to impatient or careless drivers, making accidents more likely. That said, the days before and after Thanksgiving can also see a lot of heavy traffic and wrecks. Wednesday is a heavy travel day, especially on highways and interstates, as families travel long distances to be together. Meanwhile, Black Friday has less long-distance travel but much denser—and often more aggressive—local traffic as people rush to the stores to start their holiday shopping.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Like with the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve sees a lot of people rushing to get home for the holiday. Roads are sure to be overflowing with heavy traffic on December 24th, especially after the workday ends. Many businesses do close on Christmas, which means more workers can travel. That said, Christmas Day is usually quieter in terms of long-distance travel. With Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, keep in mind that wintry conditions can make the roads even worse for travelers. Snowstorms, icy pavement, and shorter days can prove dangerous on the road, especially if drivers are tired from work or long hours behind the wheel.
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
Alcohol is a nearly inescapable part of New Year’s Eve tradition. As friends and family gather to celebrate the coming of the new year with music, partying, and lots of champagne, hitting the road can become much more stressful. While long-distance travel isn’t quite as common as on Thanksgiving and Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day still bring plenty of traffic to the roads. Winter weather is also still a hazard, and drivers should be wary of driving through ice or snow. Drunk driving is another major problem around this holiday, especially if you’re traveling in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day. If you travel around the new year, try to avoid hitting the roads after midnight.
Fourth of July
Like with New Year’s Eve, alcohol is often a staple in Fourth of July festivities. Long-distance travel isn’t as common as with other holidays, but you can still expect to see people driving to campgrounds, barbecues, and other fun places to enjoy the warm summer weather. Summertime, in general, is also a heavy travel season. If you plan to hit the road on Independence Day, you’ll have to contend with both vacationers and holiday travelers. Be wary of reckless or drunk drivers along the way. It’s also a good idea to avoid driving in the evening when fireworks are going off, as it’s easy to get distracted—or run into other distracted drivers—during the display.
Memorial Day is the first big holiday of the summer. Lots of people celebrate the return of warm weather—and their three-day weekend—by hitting up popular vacation destinations across the country. This means heavy traffic, especially around beaches, campgrounds, and national parks. Alcohol is often a part of the beach parties and backyard barbecues, making drunk drivers a common threat on Memorial Day. Additionally, because Memorial Day falls on a Monday, revelers often have to travel back home that day. That makes Memorial Day itself a much more dangerous driving day than the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday leading up to it. If you travel Memorial Day weekend, consider taking an extra day off so that you can avoid the worst of the holiday traffic and enjoy a more relaxed holiday.
Memorial Day kicks off summer travel, but Labor Day winds it down again. This last three-day weekend of the season brings many people to the roads. Day trips and vacation destinations across the country see thousands of travelers trying to make the most of the last few days of warm weather. Driving conditions are often still favorable this weekend, but you should still check the weather for rain and other road hazards. Depending on where you travel, you might also run into autumn road construction. Meanwhile, the higher traffic rates and the higher number of drunk drivers can add stress to your trip. Like with Memorial Day, Labor Day falls on a Monday, so travelers will be celebrating and driving home on the same day. Adjusting your schedule to avoid the worst of the traffic can reduce stress and make your trip much more enjoyable.
Travel Safely for the Holiday
Of course, dangers exist on the road regardless of when you travel. Fortunately, there are ways to help you and your passengers arrive at your destination safely, even on the worst holidays to be out on the road. Make sure your vehicle is in good shape before heading out so that you can avoid roadside breakdowns, particularly for winter travel, when you might run into snowy or icy conditions. Always have everyone in your car buckle up before you start moving. While you’re on the road, be sure to practice defensive driving skills. Plan your route ahead of time, keep plenty of space between yourself and other moving vehicles, and always stay calm behind the wheel. If you can, adjust your schedule or route to help you avoid the worst of the holiday traffic.
If you get a DUI during the holidays or any other time of year, Serenity Group is here to help. Find insurance companies that offer SR22 policies so that you can reinstate your license and get back to the vacations and gatherings you hold dear.