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Take Extra Care When Traveling for Christmas: DUI-related Accidents Peak During the Holidays

christmas travel and dui accidents

Christmas is fast approaching! But you can't let your guard down while you're driving with your loved ones to your relatives' homes. Other people are celebrating carelessly and getting drunk while driving on the same roads you're on! Here's what you need to know and some precautions you can take.


The holidays are a time of jubilee and family love. But not everyone is alike – there are those who make Christmas more dangerous for others because they celebrate carelessly. According to the National Safety Council, 31 percent of vehicle deaths were caused by alcohol. It doesn't take much alcohol to impair your driving abilities – one glass of wine or bottle of beer within an hour may already put your blood alcohol level above the legal limit depending on your weight and height.

But it's not just people rushing to their holiday destinations who account for the numerous DUIs spiking in December. If you live in a college town, researchers found that college students who live off-campus are at a higher risk for DUIs. The worst part is – they're not driving under the influence because they're drunk. Researchers found they're out seeking thrills and termed it “sensation-seeking.” They're driving drunk intentionally to feel the rush of excitement of doing something dangerous.

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These researchers noted that stress is one factor for college students' sensation-seeking – and sadly, December's course finals and deadlines make the month one of the most stressful. Since off-campus rentals don't require college students to vacate once the semester is over, college students living off-campus are more likely to drive drunk to unload stress and to celebrate the end of classes.

Being aware of these risks before you get on the road with your loved ones keeps all of you safer. Make sure to get ample sleep too. Researchers found that staying awake for 17 to 19 hours impairs your driving the same as having worse than 0.05 percent blood alcohol concentration. They also found that being sleep deprived tempts you to take more risks, which could explain why after sleepless nights of cramming for exams, college students drive drunk. Even if you don't drive drunk, being sleep deprived makes it more likely that you'll take riskier actions while driving, which could potentially put you and your loved ones in danger.

Christmas is a time of celebration, but it's also when you need to be more careful. Watch out for careless drivers and get enough sleep before setting out on the road. If you're careful, you and your loved ones will enjoy a stress-free happy holiday!