Millions of Americans, some sober and some not-so-sober, are expected to travel on our congested California roadways as they set out to celebrate the three big year-end holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, according to AAA.

Indeed, there is no busier place to drive than warm destination cities such as Anaheim, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles. These already congested cities are big draws for tourists, many who live in colder climates and visit California during the fall and winter holiday season.

Major tourist attractions such as Disneyland, Universal Studios, Legoland, the San Diego Zoo and Magic Mountain are just some of the local destinations that top the list for travelers. They are spread throughout the region and are connected by busy freeways such as the Interstate 5 the Interstate 405 freeways.

These travelers, as well as locals, will be sharing the roads with drunk drivers, drugged drivers, distracted drivers and drowsy drivers. There's no question that it's going to be a dangerous drive for many people, but planning your trip ahead of time, always wearing a seat belt and traveling during off-peak times can help safeguard your family.

Thanksgiving Travel

AAA projects that roughly 49 million Americans will take trips at least 50 miles away from their home over the Thanksgiving holiday. About 90 percent of travel is expected to be behind the wheel of cars compared to flying, cruising or train travel, AAA reports. The travel period for the Thanksgiving holiday is defined as beginning on Wednesday, Nov. 22, to Sunday, Nov. 26. While there may be less alcohol involved on this holiday, the shear numbers of travelers using highways and freeways makes for a higher chance of collisions.

Christmas Season Trips

DUI crashes holidays 2017Most holidays involve celebrating with alcohol. The Christmas season that ends with New Year’s Eve is certainly one of the heaviest drinking times. In fact, between Thanksgiving and and New Year's Day, alcohol-related deaths make up 48 percent of all fatalities, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The week prior to Christmas is especially dangerous as most roads lead to holiday parties serving alcohol. Plan to drive to these parties early and leave early to avoid the worst hours on the road.

New Year’s Holiday

Most people toast the New Year with champagne or some sort of alcoholic beverage, but usually by this time most of them are already too drunk to drive. Thanks to rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, as well as traditional taxis and public transportation, there are safe ways home for party-goers. Sadly, when a person is drinking they don’t typically make good decisions and drunk drivers end up behind the wheel. Let’s face it, the roads are not safe on New Year’s Eve. If you compare an average weekend night to the period between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on December 31, there are typically 71 percent more alcohol-and-drug-related crashes on the holiday.

Attorney James Johnson is all too familiar with the dangers holiday driving presents on our roads. Johnson Attorneys Group has handled everything from drunk driving collisions to defective airbag cases and everything in-between. Learn more about how our personal injury and lemon law firm can help by visiting our website or contacting us for a free consultation at 800-235-6801.

James Johnson