Holiday safety on the road

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 29, 2003

Safety warnings have become as much a part of Christmas as tinsel and toys. This is regrettable, of course, since few people want their eggnog spiced with motherly nagging about "be careful, be careful, be careful." But then again, the warnings are there to keep the holidays special, joyful and tragedy-free.

The warnings are extended to holiday traffic as well. Far too often, we see horrific accidents this time of year, due to intoxicated drivers leaving the parties, or exhausted drivers trying to make it to a family member's house before Christmas Eve.

No matter how we rant about drunk drivers, they will exist as long as alcohol is legal - and even when it isn't. There will always be someone who swears he "can hold his liquor" when he can barely hold his car keys. So hold his car keys for him. A bruised friendship is better than a broken body.

Soon, the schools will be dismissing for the holidays, and children will add their dangers to the mix. Excited by the festive atmosphere, anticipating the holidays, they can run out in front of cars before the drivers know what happened. Keep a careful eye on yards in residential neighborhoods, and especially around store parking lots, where a shopping-exhausted parent might accidentally let go of a small hand too soon.

Other culprits of automotive collisions this time of year are the deer. There is nothing jolly about what drives the whitetails across four lanes of traffic - this is the rutting season and hunting season, and deer will hurtle across pavement focusing only on what they are chasing or what is chasing them. We should always drive defensively, but more so this time of year than any other. Keep in mind there are deer in the darkness, drunks on the road, children soon to be out of school, and the general holiday mayhem that increases traffic hazards.

Keep Christmas joyous by keeping your eye on the road and making it home safely every night.