And to All a Good Night: Keeping your Holiday Safe

No matter what your holiday traditions, this December provides ample time for friends, family, and parties. There is plenty to love about the holiday season – the once-a-year extravagant meals, opening presents, and watching snow fall. For some, the holidays are not complete without a fresh dusting of snow on the ground. For others, the threat of icy and wintry roads brings unwanted bouts of anxiety and worry.

Most cities prone to snow storms keep enough plows on call to keep up with holiday travel. Visitors in from out of town or those having too much to drink, however, only add to already dangerous winter driving conditions. Personal injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm remind those traveling this holiday season to be mindful of any changing weather or impaired drivers, and to use the best judgment to avoid any unnecessary holiday drama.

Chicago’s RedEye compiled a list of tips for those biking on wintry roads. For many of the same reasons car accidents increase this time of year, reports of serious bicycle accidents rise as well. In northern cities, snow and ice play a major role. Pay attention to your tires – bikes and cars with deflated tires pose serious risks to drivers and the people around them. Filling up tires outside will ensure that air pressure won’t be compromised when you park your car or bike inside. Redeye also recommends sticking to larger streets. Cars should stick to main roads because they are the first to be plowed and salted, even if you have to leave a few minutes earlier to make up for the traffic.Though road conditions may be iffy, cyclists should resist temptation to move to sidewalks, where unexpected hazards pose a threat.

Because of the anticipated increase in accidents over holiday seasons, police are setting up DUI checkpoints in nearly every county and state in the country. Last weekend in Los Angeles alone police made 456 DUI arrests, according to the Los Angeles Times, and two pedestrians were killed by drunk drivers. Many states and insurance companies are cracking down on DUI convictions. In addition to court fees, fines, traffic school, and probation, an increase in insurance premiums could cost you more than you can afford during the holiday season. In addition to seasonal checkpoints, all regularly scheduled patrol officers will be emphasizing DUI monitoring.

The highest number of automobile crashes occurs in December, due to a number of compounding factors including impaired drivers, poor weather, and people driving to unknown destinations. Texting or talking on the phone poses a significant threat to road safety. Whether you’re asking Siri where the nearest gas station is or checking the address of your family’s holiday gathering, using mobile phones while driving can be just as dangerous and drinking and driving.

NBC News is warning residents in the Midwest of especially erratic weather conditions in the next few weeks. Over 600 flights were canceled out of Chicago O’Hare on Thursday due to snow and wind storms that are actively on their way to the Northeast. Reports of fatal accidents caused by the storms continue to surface: three people died in Iowa in a 30-car pileup, two people died in Wisconsin, and one woman was found dead in Utah after her car broke down and became stuck in the snow.

Many states are engaging in safety and awareness campaigns this holiday season to encourage motorists to take every available precaution. Though some tips may seem like common sense, something as simple as telling everyone in the car to fasten their seat belts or making sure services are up-to-date in the vehicle could potentially save a life. Other noteworthy tips from awareness campaigns include planning your route in advance and writing down clear directions, practicing defensive driving, and making sure all pets are safely restrained in the car.

The best way to avoid December accidents is to stay mindful of your surroundings. Keep a watchful eye on the road, food cooking in the kitchen, and little ones playing around holiday decorations, and don’t forget to enjoy the company of family and friends. The staff of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm wishes everyone safe and joyful holiday season.