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Why your risk of a DUI crash may increase in the winter

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

The colder winter months bring with them numerous safety risks. The possibility of a car crash is a constant concern during your winter commute, and drunk drivers contribute a lot to your fatal crash risk.

Although it is possible for you to cross paths with a drunk driver at any moment, there could be an elevated risk for such collisions at certain points throughout the winter. As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season, it might be beneficial to review the unique winter risks related to drunk driving.

The holidays cause a spike in consumption

Anytime that people gather in groups or have days off of work, they may celebrate by consuming alcohol. Certain holidays, like New Year’s Day, have traditions that specifically involve the consumption of alcohol. That may be why New Year’s Day is the deadliest holiday in terms of drunk driving risk.

Researchers track the number of crashes that occur on any given day and then compare that with other days during the same month or season to determine how high an individual’s relative risk of a drunk fatal driving crash is.

Your chance of a drunk driving crash increases by 116% on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Thanksgiving and Christmas also see a lot of overindulgence and people driving home after parties while still under the influence. The risk of a drunk driving crash goes up 56% on Thanksgiving and 9% on Christmas Day. The weekends immediately before and after holidays also tend to see a noticeable increase in drunk driving crashes as well.

Darker days may drive people to drink

Seasonal depression is a serious concern in the northern hemisphere. When the days are shorter and there is less sunshine, people may be more prone to depression and low energy levels. Some people self-medicate with alcohol in response to darker days in the winter. Especially because some people wait until the sun goes down to start drinking, your chances of crossing paths with someone under the influence earlier in the day may increase during the winter months.

Tracking your risks for drunk driving crashes throughout the year will hope you reduce your chances of getting hurt in a motor vehicle collision.