How To Drive Safely on New Year's Eve
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To drive safely on New Year's Eve, it's crucial to prioritize vigilance and preparedness amidst the unique challenges of the night. If you must brave the roads, take extra caution should you travel at night due to poor visibility and potentially sharing the road with drunk drivers. Be mindful that the weather during this time of year can be unforgiving and equally dangerous as any drunk driver.
Keep reading to learn about New Year’s safety tips for driving.
Is It Dangerous To Drive on New Year’s Eve?
Driving on New Year's Eve can be more dangerous compared to other nights due to the higher presence of drunk drivers, traffic congestion and bad weather, just to name a few reasons.
How Many DUIs Occur on New Year’s?
Drunk driving New Year’s Eve statistics show that there were 209 drunk-driving-related fatalities during the New Year’s and Christmas holiday period in 2020. Drivers should always designate a sober driver or arrange a rideshare service if they plan on drinking during the New Year’s holiday. In addition, all drivers should drive extra defensively and be watchful for other drivers who may be drunk.
What Are the Most Common Driving Dangers on New Year’s Eve?
Weather and other drivers always pose a risk when you’re on the road, especially during the holidays.
As is with any celebratory holiday, alcohol will usually be made plentiful on New Year's Eve. At the very least, you can expect champagne for the midnight toast and a higher likelihood of encountering a tipsy or drunk driver while driving home from your party. If you must drive after the midnight toast, then be sure to drive extra carefully.
Traffic on New Year’s Eve can be higher than normal since people may be traveling to other places to celebrate. Higher traffic volumes can lead to more New Year’s Eve accidents, especially when combined with less-than-sober drivers on the road.
Snow, Ice or Freezing Conditions
Of course, should you find yourself on the road, you will likely find that the weather isn't exactly ideal for being behind the wheel. New Year's finds itself in the winter, meaning some places will have rain, snow and potentially heavy winds, all of which make it dangerous to drive on the road. Consider that an average of 21% of car accidents (nearly 1,235,000) are due to weather conditions.
Ringing in the New Year involves staying up until midnight and driving at night doesn’t offer the best visibility conditions.
After staying up all night to celebrate the New Year, there may be drivers on the road who are tired from the festivities. This can lead to poor judgment where drivers will try fighting through the sleepiness instead of pulling over and getting some rest or grabbing a coffee. Dozing off while driving can easily lead to accidents.
The excitement and distractions of New Year's celebrations can divert a driver’s attention from the road. These can include fireworks, bonfires or perhaps loud partygoers who have wandered into the street for some fresh air.
New Year’s Eve Safety Tips for Drivers
From having emergency supplies ready to utilizing public transportation, we've provided several ways you can prepare yourself this New Year's holiday.
1. Don’t Drink and Drive
Even one drink can impair coordination, reaction time and decision-making. To safely enjoy cocktails on New Year’s Eve and avoid drunk driving:
- Pre-plan a designated driver when going out with a group
- Use public transport or rideshare services like Uber or Lyft
- Consider hosting at home, and if guests drink, offer to have them stay over
- Prevent anyone who has been drinking from driving by taking their keys and arranging a cab or rideshare for them
2. Have an Emergency Kit Ready
Be prepared for car breakdowns and other such emergencies by maintaining a well-stocked safety kit in your vehicle. This kit should include basic first-aid supplies, bottled water and non-perishable food items. Other items may also include blankets, phone chargers and flashlights.
Also, make sure your vehicle has jumper cables in case another car or truck passes by. You can also purchase a mobile jumper kit that can start your battery without needing another vehicle. It may also be a good idea to add roadside assistance to your auto policy.
3. Be Cautious When Nighttime Driving
Nighttime driving demands extra caution due to the possibility of running into high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED headlights in modern vehicles, which are much brighter than average headlights. The increased intensity can create a visual hazard while driving. To mitigate this:
- Avoid staring into oncoming vehicle lights
- Keep your windshield clean to reduce glare
- Increase the distance between you and the vehicle behind you within reason.
- Do not exceed the speed limit
- Pull over if need be to allow other drivers to pass
- Slow down when driving in the dark
How To Get Car Insurance Before Traveling on New Year’s Eve
To secure the best auto insurance deal as the New Year approaches, it's prudent to evaluate a range of quotes, ideally from three to five different insurers. These providers typically seek information about your car, such as its make, model and year, the number of drivers to be covered under the policy and your driving history. Gathering this information for each insurer separately can be quite a task.
Fortunately, services like SmartFinancial make this process more efficient. By filling out just one comprehensive form about your insurance needs and financial considerations, you can swiftly discover a car insurance plan that suits your specific requirements. For a free insurance quote, simply input your zip code in the space provided below.