Holiday is a time of joy and merriment. It’s a time when there will be wreaths on grills, Christmas lights on the dash and rear-view mirrors draped in mistletoe and holiday cheer. Sleigh bells will ring and Christmas carols will echo across CB radios.
Christmas is a time when you get home after a long time on the road and enjoy the smells of turkey, dressing, and sweet potato pie.
And yet, it’s also a time a time when there’s going to be a lot more people on the road, which could lead to more accidents, especially in icy conditions. This is why it’s so important to ensure that we are driving as carefully as possible.
Danger During the Holidays
We have no desire to scare anyone, but the fact is there are typically more accidents during the holidays. From more cars on the road to more people drinking and driving, road accidents typically increase during the holiday season.
But there is also another critical factor that contributes to unsafe roads during the holidays, and it’s one that might surprise you: Speeding. According to a recent study, during the holiday period from November through December, speeding was a factor in 30 percent of all crashes, far higher than normal.
In total, speeding accounts for around 12,000 fatal crashes a year, according to the NTSB. This is important to note because most people equate holiday accidents with drunk driving, when in fact speeding is also a culprit.
According to another report – the Crash Stats Study – compiled by the NTSB, the deadliest day of the year for speeding related crashes is New Years Day, followed by Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Rounding out the list are Thanksgiving and Christmas.
While it may seem like New Year’s Day is an obvious choice, in reality that’s a bit of a surprise with all the empty roads and ride sharing services available that day. Still, roads can be icy. So, where do big rig trucks fit into this equation?
Per recent statistics, about one in eight fatal accidents involves a large heavy-duty commercial motor vehicle. About one in ten fatalities is a pedestrian, with the same amount also accounting for motorcycle fatalities.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Of all the drivers who were cited in an accident, almost 15% had been involved in previous accidents. Another 14% had had their license revoked in the past, with 4% having a previous DWI.
Would you believe that of all those statistics, only 1% of truck drivers had been previously convicted of a DWI, while a whopping 23% had a previous speeding conviction. And over 16% had previous accidents. An obvious pattern should be emerging here.
Creating a Safe Driving System
Every professional truck driver should be operating using a safe driving system. There are several aspects to an effective self-policing program.
First, always stay in your lane and be prepared to stop. It may sound simple, but they are the most important truck driving safety aspects to remember.
Also, never get too comfortable. Some truckers, after getting some experience under their belt, will often begin to get a little complacent, thinking they’ve got driving a big rig truck in the bag. Remember, there’s a lot more to driving a heavy-duty commercial motor vehicle than where you’ve pointed the nose.
Always take into consideration that during the holidays, the roads will be packed and city driving will be even more precarious. Avoid cutting in and out of traffic and lane dodging. Keep your presence clear to all those around you and always operate with reduced speed, especially in areas where snow and ice may be on the road.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe haul this holiday season. And from all of us here at the Trucking Safety Blog, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.