Days surrounding holidays are the most dangerous time on the road

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - If you're planning on waiting until a few days before Christmas to travel this year, you may want to think twice.

According to a new study from the University of Alabama, car crashes are most likely to occur between December 21st and the 26th.

After combing through data about car accidents from the past ten years, Professor Allen Parrish and a team of researchers determined the Christmas season is the most dangerous time on the road all year long. Dr. Parrish said, "Because traffic volume tends to go up around the holidays. The number of crashes also tends to go up."

But major highways and interstates aren't the places with the most accidents. Parrish said you're most likely to get in a crash at a shopping between the hours of four and seven p.m.

Researchers did determine the number of deadly accidents did not increase during the Christmas time, but minor crashes, like fender benders did.

As for the safest day to travel around the holidays Parrish said is the holiday itself, Christmas Day because he says there's less traffic on the road.

Since Christmas is on a Wednesday this year, the team thinks the worst days for accidents will be the Friday, Monday and Tuesday before Christmas.

But there are simple steps you can take to avoid trouble. "Always wear your seat belt. Try to stay off of rural roadways late at night because those at any time of the year tend to be dangerous," Dr. Parrish said.    

Last year there were nearly 450 more crashes surrounding Christmas than there were surrounding New Year's in Alabama.

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