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Starting the new year safely

With the end of the year quickly approaching, many Pennsylvanians are beginning to reflect on what happened in the past 12 months and how they can improve themselves once the clock strikes midnight on December 31. However, all of that reflection as well as any resolutions to improve yourself next year you make in the process will be for naught if you do not make it to next year.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are some of the most dangerous holidays for the road during the year. While it doesn’t have the highest fatality count since law enforcement is aware of the holiday’s reputation for irresponsible drinking habits, there are still hundreds of people that suffer from negligent party-goers during these two days. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, there were nearly 200 crashes and 8 fatalities on the road during 2017’s New Year celebration. No matter how you plan to celebrate the arrival of the new year, you should be aware of the various hazards you could potentially face during these 48 hours.

Every road is risky

When it comes to most holidays that feature a lot of drinking, there tends to be certain locations that are more dangerous to drive in than others. Highway traffic can be brutal with how much people are traveling over this holiday and several bars fill up with people watching the last game of December or because ordering a couple of drinks is their annual New Year’s tradition.

Neighborhoods are arguably at their most dangerous during New Year’s Eve. Over 20 percent of Americans spend New Year’s Eve at a friend’s or family member’s house and have a few drinks before the ball drops. This puts several obstacles in place just for a simple drive to your house. You have to avoid hitting any of the dozens of cars parked near the driveways in your division, keep an eye out for any suspicious driving behavior and go very slowly to avoid any potential pedestrians in the dark as well as potentially slippery roads depending on how the weather is that day.

Making party plans

If you plan on hosting a celebration at your house or going somewhere else to celebrate New Year’s, you need to develop contingency plans to prevent the worst from happening. While ride services such as Uber are convenient for people too drunk to operate a vehicle, it might be more convenient to see if you have any friends or family members willing to drive you before the party. New Year’s is undoubtedly one of the busiest times for ride services, and getting someone you know to help you out can save you some time and money.

If you are hosting a party, then you should have sleeping accommodations ready for those who do not have a proper ride home. If a drunk person at your party gets behind the wheel and causes a serious accident, you could be held as potentially liable for letting the party-goer leave intoxicated in the driver’s seat.

While the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has begun their “Operation Safe Holiday” campaign to decrease the amount of accidents and fatalities during the New Year’s festivities, they will not be able to stop everyone. Even if you manage to take as many precautions as possible while driving around this time, all it takes is one reckless motorist to ruin your night. It is important to know your potential legal options you have in the event of a motor vehicle crash.

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