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Driving Home for the Holidays

Late night, cramming sessions will soon be complete. The dreaded finals will be a thing of the past. A car full of dirty laundry and maybe some unwrapped gifts will be loaded in the trunk. These all point to one thing – heading home from college for the holidays.  Millions of students will be heading home to relax, reconnect with old friends from high school and be with loved ones in the coming weeks, which mean an increase in travel.

Talk to Avoid Accidents

A statewide campaign in Virginia is getting other states talking as they released “Steer into the New Year, Drive Responsibly.” The campaign is designed to increase discussions and decrease the number of car accidents over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The campaign also focuses on peer-to-peer influence.  It’s well established that peers can influence and alter the behaviors of their friends just by talking about a subject. If young drivers come together and start a discussion to hold one another accountable to 1) drive sober; 2) eliminate distractions; and 3) obey the speed limit, the results can be positive for everyone.

From the moment a college student leaves campus, the risk of being involved in a car accident increases. The holidays alone are a high risk time period for any type of driver, let alone a young driver. The Virginia campaign released a few tips for college students before traveling back to mom and dad:

  • Buckle Up;
  • Obey the speed limit;
  • Avoid distractions – put the cell phone away;
  • Limit the number of passengers in your vehicle; and
  • Celebrate responsibly – never drink and drive.

Stay Alive, don’t drink and drive

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that 40% of all of the car accidents that occur between Christmas and New Year’s because someone was drinking and driving. We know that millions of college students will be excited to reconnect with home town friends, but they shouldn’t act irresponsibly when driving home. Plus, since young people are close to home, they have an automatic “designated driver” – mom and dad.

This holiday break should be one to relax, enjoy and reconnect with loved ones, not be involved in a deadly car accident. Take your own personal pledge as a young driver and be responsible!

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