Distracted driving on the rise during the holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, bringing crowded roadways to the metro Cobb County area.  The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s tends to be one of the most dangerous times to drive.  One contributing factor to that roadway danger is distracted driving – which also tends to increase during the holiday season.

Smartphones have progressed a long way – to the point that they can track just about every move user makes.  Certain apps and devices are able to track usage while behind the wheel.  One company, TrueMotion, recently stated that distracted driving increases by 33% during the holiday season.

Here are some of the most common distractions that lead to roadway accidents during the holidays:

Mobile shopping.  Statistics show that a high percentage of online shopping is done not only from a mobile device, but while also behind the wheel of a car.  During the holiday season, many people are in a hurry and on a tight schedule.  Sometimes we feel that it’s safe enough to shop online while driving to reduce time spent in store, or will allow us to find things we couldn’t have in store.  But this can be extremely dangerous and can easily cause a car accident.

Checking store hours.  No one wants to drive all the way to a store, only to find out that they are closed.  So many drivers navigate their mobile devices while driving to confirm a store’s hours.  It’s illegal to operate a mobile device while driving in the state of Georgia, so make sure to do your research before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Signing up for coupons.  Many of us have coupons emailed to us daily, especially around the holidays.  This can mean coupons and saving money while shopping, simply by joining email lists or clicking on advertisements.  Many drivers will attempt to do this while driving, which can easily lead to distracted driving.  Make sure you plan ahead before you shop or get behind the wheel.

Communicating with others.  The roadways will be busier due to people utilizing vacation days, students being out of school, and holiday breaks from work and activities.  Communication with friends and family can be higher during the holidays, so many people will be tempted to call or text while behind the wheel of a car.  Just like any other time of the year, texting or calling while driving is extremely dangerous and can easily lead to a serious automobile accident.

Driving while under pressure.  The holidays can be stressful – both financially and from a time perspective.  This can lead to people being in a hurry, whether it’s going from one Christmas party to the next, or rushing to a store before it closes.  This strongly increases the chance of distracted driving, as many drivers are disheveled and not completely focused on the roadways.  This can also lead to drivers avoiding common roadway safety.

Each of these potential holiday distractions can be the difference in an enjoyable holiday season, or one shadowed by an auto accident and injuries.  We urge all drivers to avoid extra distraction, in an effort to make this holiday season one of happiness and safety.  Let’s all do our part to ensure we’re safe and responsible on the roadways to enjoy the holiday season.