Drivers should be aware as Christmas gets closer

As Christmas draws ever closer, malls and retailers around Cambridge and the greater Boston area are expected to have marathon hours to serve last minute shoppers. The idea is to relieve the stress and consternation that commonly comes with the final days of the holiday shopping season.

If only there were something to relieve drivers’ stresses at the same time. If there were, it would probably end up reducing the number of accidents before Christmas. According to a number of studies on holiday traffic, the likelihood of crashes increases between the last weekend before Christmas Day and the holiday itself. Researchers believe that the combination of heavier traffic, agitated drivers and the desire to get last minute gifts make for challenging driving conditions.

Despite these challenges, drivers are tasked with the duty to use reasonable care when behind the wheel; meaning that they must take the same precautions that a reasonable person would use while driving. Essentially, it is presumed that a reasonable person would not drive aggressively, send text messages while driving, or drive while under the influence of alcohol.

So if a person does any of these things, it could be considered a breach of the duty to use reasonable care while driving. If an accident occurs as a result, the offending driver could be held liable for the injuries stemming from the crash.

If there is a time where the adages “peace on earth” and “goodwill towards man” should apply, it is in mall parking lots and streets in front of stores in these final days before Christmas.

Source: WashingtonPost.com, “For drivers around Christmastime, it’s not exactly tidings of comfort and joy,” Ashley Halsey III, December 2, 2013