The ringing in of a new year is a time for celebration. It represents a clean slate in many cases. People make resolutions and vow to make changes for the better starting on January 1st. Not surprisingly, December 31st is typically a "last hurrah" of sorts, as the general public prepares to say goodbye to past behaviors. Like most holidays, on New Year's Eve there is an abundance of additional traffic on the roadways. However, add to the that large quantities of alcohol often consumed by New Year's Eve party-goers, and you have a dangerous mix on the roadways.
Here are a few suggestions if you find yourself operating on New Year's Eve:
Plan your schedule carefully
If you are responsible for dispatching drivers, keep in mind the additional dangers for drivers on New Year's Eve. Try to schedule appointments early in the day and factor in extra time needed for traveling between appointments. For drivers, try to arrive at your pick up and delivery appointments as early as possible. That way you can get underway to a safe parking location earlier. And speaking of parking...
59% of all alcohol-related crash deaths occur between the hours of 9:00 PM and 6:00 AM according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. If at all possible, call it a night and shut down early. For reserved lots, make parking reservations well in advance. If you don't typically pay for parking, consider it this time. The peace of mind of being safely parked before New Year's Eve revelers hit the road may be worth the cost. If you have to search for a safe place to park for the night, begin your search early. Many of your fellow drivers will (rightfully) have the same idea.
If you must be on the road on New Year's Eve, exercise extreme caution. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates between 2001 and 2005, the average number of alcohol-related crash deaths was 36 per day. On New Year's Eve each year, that number climbed to 54 alcohol-related crash deaths. With more cars on the road and a higher rate of alcohol consumption by the general traveling public, your risk of collision is greatly increased. Put the defensive driving techniques you've learned through your training into practice until you can safely park.
As a commercial truck driver, you understand the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. There is greater probability of being involved in a collision - not to mention the potential to negatively impact your driving career. But for motorists in general, the consequences of alcohol-related traffic accidents may seem a distant "if." Use precaution to ensure your personal safety by planning accordingly, parking early, and driving defensively and get the New Year off to a safe start.