Tips to Stay Safe During the Busy Holiday Travel Season

Posted by Josh Valentine | Dec 12, 2018

While many people enjoy spending holidays with family and friends, the increased car travel and consumption of alcohol make the roadways especially precarious. This means your chances of being involved in a car accident increases during this time of year.

North Carolina Car Accident Statistics

In 2017, there were over 275,000 car accidents state-wide, according to North Carolina Department of Transportation statistics. These accidents resulted in 1,396 deaths and over 125,000 injuries. There were more than 1,000 car accidents in Shelby, North Carolina alone in 2017.

In December 2017, there were nearly 25,000 car accidents state-wide, resulting in 10,321 reported injuries and 109 fatalities.

Safe Driving Tips for the Holidays

A car accident can result in severe injuries and even the loss of a loved one. These tips can help you stay safe this holiday season:

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Whether you're a driver, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist or a bicyclist, be aware that this is one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. Drivers are likely to be in a hurry, stressed, or even under the influence. Be extra cautious this time of year.
  • Perform regular vehicle maintenance. Check your tires, windshield wipers and battery. If you've been putting off an oil change, brake check or other routine maintenance, take care of those before you head out on a holiday car trip.
  • Wear a seat belt. Not only does North Carolina require that most drivers and passengers wear seat belts, unrestrained drivers and passengers are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in an accident.
  • Slow down. The "safe" driving speed for particular road or traffic conditions may be less than the posted speed limit. Increased holiday travel means more drivers on the roads, and wintry weather can also make driving more dangerous. Slow down to a safe speed for the particular conditions, and don't be tempted to speed to make up time, even if you're running late.
  • Give yourself extra time to travel. More drivers on the road means it is likely to take longer to reach your destination. Plan ahead and give yourself more time to travel, especially if you're traveling at peak traffic times.
  • Take breaks during long drives. If you will be driving long distances during the holidays, plan to stop at least every two hours for a break. Walk around, stretch, grab a snack or have a (nonalcoholic) drink.
  • Don't use your phone while driving (or walking). All North Carolina drivers are forbidden from texting while driving, and novice drivers under the age of 18 are also forbidden from talking on their phones when they're behind the wheel. I know it can be tempting to send a quick text message when you're running holiday errands or shopping, but taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can easily cause an accident. Pedestrians should also avoid using their phones when they're crossing the street.
  • Plan ahead to get home safely. If you will be drinking at a holiday event or gathering, plan ahead to make sure you can get home safely. Alcohol was a factor in over 40% of the crashes causing injury or death in Cleveland County last year. Choose a designated driver who will not drink at all. If you don't have a designated driver, make sure you are able to call a cab or a ride service. Worst case scenario, get a hotel room or have your car towed. Not only are these options safer, but they're also less expensive than a DWI arrest.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar