When people talk about bringing the new year in with a bang, they’re talking firecrackers, not the kind of bang that goes with a car accident.
Unfortunately, the New Year’s weekend is one of the most dangerous weekends of the year — every year. Drinking and exuberant moods tend to combine, but they don’t always make for great driving.
If you’re heading to a New Year’s Eve party or expect to be on the road for other reasons, use these tips as a safety guide in order to avoid a car accident:
1. Plan ahead for safety
This will mean different things to different people. If you’re going to a party alone and plan to drink, either take a taxi, Uber or get a friend or relative to drive you there and pick you up later.
If you’re going to a party that’s too far away to use one of those options, plan on staying overnight — even if you have to book a hotel room and take a cab back to it overnight. Sleep until you no longer feel groggy or hungover. Even if you aren’t drunk, you can get into an accident if your reflexes are dulled from too much good cheer the night before.
If you’re going to a party with a group, either have a designated driver or chip in together for the ride-sharing service.
2. Keep off the roads as much as possible
Don’t forget: Other drivers may not be as cautious as you. Historically, the roads are most dangerous between 8:00 p.m., and 2:00 a.m. If at all possible, avoid traveling during those times.
The roads are also likely to be busier than normal — even back roads and two-lane highways can get busy when there are enough drivers out there. Make sure that you’re driving defensively. Keep your eyes on the road and make sure that you don’t allow your cellphone, radio, GPS system or passengers distract you.
If you are in a car accident over the weekend, make sure that you get any necessary medical care right away. Also, consider talking over your legal options with an attorney before you agree to any kind of settlement that an insurance company offers you.
Source: The Church Agency, “7 Tips to Stay Safe From Drunk Driving/Drivers This New Years Eve,” accessed Dec. 29, 2017