The months of November, December, and January, often referred to as the holiday season, also happen to be the season of highest automobile fatalities. Extra safety measures should be taken during this time to minimize accidents during holiday travel.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were nearly 40,000 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2012. Statistically, the holiday season is the most dangerous time to travel.
As people choose to drive rather than fly to their destinations, December sees a high number of car accidents. Roads become slick and icy, drivers are more likely to travel drowsy, and more people drive under the influence of alcohol. Sanpete County, in addition to a history of cold winters and icy roads, also has the hazard of wildlife on roads.
“Drivers need to be extremely cautious when traveling in the winter, especially while traveling through the canyon,” warned Travis Schiffman, a professor at Snow College who is a native to Ephraim.
As the cold creeps in and snow continues to fall, deer become increasingly prevalent along the roadways of central Utah. Seirra Steele, a freshman at Snow, knows first-hand the dangers of deer on the road, especially at night.
“It was crazy how fast it happened,” explained Steele. “I was driving back from Mount Pleasant and out of nowhere a deer appeared. I tried to miss it but couldn’t.”
The damage to cars, such as Seirra’s Chevy Cavalier, can be extensive. “The damage actually totaled my car. I couldn’t even open my driver’s side door. I was just lucky I had my seatbelt on,” stated Steele.
With the holiday season coming up, and routes of travel becoming increasingly hazardous, there are safety measures to be taken that reduce the likelihood of fatal car accidents.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises that people know their cars and the way their brakes will react on icy roads, increase space between yourself and other travelling vehicles on the road, avoid driving drowsy or fatigued, and, when possible, drive in the daylight hours when visibility is clearer.