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It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a long road trip this holiday season or simply traveling across town to visit family, any time you get behind the wheel you’re at risk of an accident.

There are many potential causes of holiday car accidents. Understanding these will go a long way in helping you remain safe.

  • Distracted driving. This can include drinking a cup of coffee, sending a text message or talking to children in the backseat.
  • Drowsy driving. It’s easy to wear down during the holidays. Don’t get behind the wheel if you’re too tired to make safe and sound decisions at all times.
  • Road conditions. For example, heavy snow and ice could blanket the roads, making it more difficult to maintain control of your vehicle.
  • Nighttime driving. Decreased visibility during nighttime hours makes it more difficult to see the road ahead, as well as other vehicles.
  • Reckless driving. From speeding on the highway to illegal passing on a city road, there’s never a good time to drive recklessly.

As you avoid these driving pitfalls, you shouldn’t assume that other drivers are doing the same. For instance, you may be 100 percent alert, but another motorist could be nodding off after many hours on the road.

If you’re involved in a holiday car accident, move your vehicle to the side of the road and check yourself for injuries. Also, call 911 to ask for assistance for yourself and any injured passengers. Once things settle down, contact your insurance agent, file a claim and implement a strategy for holding the negligent driver responsible.