The holidays tend to rank high when it comes to the amount of car crashes and fatalities compared to the rest of the year. Though Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are often considered by many to have the most traffic incidents, there is no shortage of them around Christmas either. Alabama is already a dangerous state to drive in, and the risk just gets higher during December thanks to holiday drivers and unpredictable weather.

Since many families travel during the holidays, those staying at home might feel like they have little to worry about. However, all drivers should be on the lookout for negligent motorists around this time of year no matter if they are on the highway or making a quick trip to the grocery store. Annual traditions have increased the risk of getting into an accident around certain parts of the cities. It is crucial to be aware of these areas so you can take precaution while planning your trip to your destination.

Shopping malls

Attendance levels at malls and retail stores skyrocket during December as people search for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Shopping malls benefit greatly from the month thanks to holiday deals, blockbuster films and parents taking their children to see Santa. While the final days before Christmas are undoubtedly some of the busiest times of the year at these locations, finding a parking spot during the weekends leading up to it is no cake walk.

According to the National Safety Council, nearly 66 percent of drivers claim that they get distracted while trying to find a spot in the parking lot. While some may feel safer allowing their vision to drift in an area that encourages slower driving, there are also narrow lanes and motorists rushing to find the closest spot to avoid walking in the cold. You may be better off checking the back for spots to avoid the frustration, chaos and potential damages you could receive competing for a closer parking space during this hectic shopping period.

Bars

Like with most holidays where workers get time off, many celebrate with a couple of drinks. Despite the increase in police enforcement around December in the last couple of years, there is still a high number of drunk driving crashes. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were over 780 drunk driving crash fatalities during the December of 2016.

While several of these deaths likely came around New Year’s celebrations, there are still a significant number of people who drink around Christmas. There may be more police out, but you should still be on the lookout for any suspicious behavior near places that serve alcoholic beverages. What time you drive by these areas will also play a large factor in your likelihood to bump into a drunk driver. Most drunk driving fatalities occur during the nighttime, and December has the least amount of sunlight out of any month.

Rural roads

Nearly half of Alabama’s population lives in rural areas. Roads around these parts of the state have high accident rates during any time of the year, but the amount of hazards increases in December. Less sunlight means the lack of sufficient lighting of the roads will throw more drivers off course. They are some of the last areas to be cleaned off after a snowstorm. Inexperienced or intoxicated drivers roaming these streets have a higher chance of harming others with the road’s lack of maintenance and law enforcement.

This shouldn’t discourage you from visiting these parts during one of the most hectic times of the year. Instead, you should be carefully planning the routes and timing of your trip no matter how far from your house you are going. You should also be aware of any legal assistance available for you to contact in case you receive injuries from a negligent driver during the holidays.