Christmas is the time for giving, and giving usually means buying. Buying usually means a trip to the store, which means that there tends to be a lot more traffic on the road every Christmas season.
Holiday traffic, unfortunately, tends to lead to accidents. If you want to reduce your risk of being in an accident while Christmas shopping this year, here are some good tips to follow:
1. Drive Slower
It's actually not true that higher speed limits increase the number of accidents on the highway -- but they do increase the number of severe accidents. High-velocity crashes mean that objects hit each other with a much harder force than they do in low-velocity crashes. Whatever the speed limit of the road you're on, take it easy and don't exceed the posted speed!
2. Shop Early
The closer it gets to Christmas Eve, the more crazed the salespeople get and the more glazed-over the eyes of the shoppers get. Parking lots get fuller, regular roads can be choked with traffic jams, and highways can turn into parking lots -- especially if foul weather hits before the holiday season is over. If you can, mail order some of your gifts early and do the rest of your shopping as early as possible. You can't get into a car accident if you aren't out there on the road.
3. Stay Alert
If you do venture out while shopping, stay alert in parking lots -- whether you're behind the wheel or carrying a couple arms full of bags. Parking lots become danger zones unlike no other during the holiday season:
- The increased attendance at the mall -- especially if Santa is there -- may mean more kids are around. Kids have an uncomfortable way of darting away from parents and can't always be seen in rearview mirrors.
- Backing up out of a parking space is dangerous. Shoppers tend to be focused on their feet, especially if the ground has any snow on it. Be careful you don't accidentally hit someone who isn't watching.
- Try to get to the mall early enough to pull through your space (unless you're great at backing into one) -- that way you can pull forward when you leave and not have to worry about backing into anyone.
If you do get into an accident this holiday season, don't let your Christmas Cheer override your good sense -- even a minor injury can cause you to dislocate a rib or tear a rotator cuff. What you think of as just a "sore muscle" could turn into a lifelong injury. Talk to a car accident attorney in order to learn your rights before you sign off on any settlement or speak to an insurance adjuster.