Stay safe on the roads this holiday season

Is it Christmas yet? Almost! Most of us look forward to the holiday season with great anticipation. Seeing family members, enjoying Christmas movies, shopping and attending parties is a great way to close out the year.

For some people, however, the holiday season can be quite stressful because of the planning and travel involved. For others, it can end in sadness because of an avoidable car accident that caused serious injuries or the death of a loved one.

Police stepping up drunk driving enforcement

The holiday season means there will be more cars on roads filled with families heading off to see relatives or revelers attending Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties.

According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the holiday season is also one of the most dangerous times of year on roads throughout the state. That is why PennDOT and the Pennsylvania State Police are undertaking another “Operation Safe Holiday” this year.

In 2016, there were 8,608 accidents and 79 deaths in the period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s across the state. Out of those crashes, 1,072 accidents and 27 deaths involved impaired driving, such as drunk driving or drugged driving.

Across the state, authorities will step up seat belt enforcement and be on the lookout for drunk drivers. This includes increased traffic patrols and sobriety checkpoints on certain days in December.

What you can do to stay safe

While you can’t keep all drunk drivers off the road yourself, there are some steps that you can take this season to improve your chances of avoiding accidents. Also, do not forget that foul winter weather can also make driving treacherous this time of year.

Keep these tips in mind before you head out:

  • Never drink and drive
  • If you will be drinking, use a ride-sharing service or call a cab
  • Offer to serve as a designated driver
  • Always buckle your safety belt
  • Use extra caution and be on the lookout for questionable driving
  • Avoid driving late at night, when drunk drivers are more likely to be out
  • Check road conditions ahead of time

We hope that your holiday season is filled with joy. Enjoy the music, movies, parties and egg nog. You can even have a couple extra glasses if you want to! Just remember to make smart choices before getting behind the wheel.