The holiday season is upon us. Along with the festivities, family traditions, shared meals and holiday cheer comes another, more ominous development: a stark rise in deadly traffic accidents. It’s one of the busiest times of year for traffic. An estimated 50 million Americans are hitting the roads during Thanksgiving weekend alone, according to AAA. With that increased congestion comes a higher risk of collisions – especially when it comes to drunk driving.

For many, the holidays involve eating, drinking and making merry. Yet that also means more drunk drivers on the road. Fatality rates skyrocket during the holiday season. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is particularly dangerous, with drunk driving-related traffic deaths rising 2-3 times higher than usual.

One of the best ways to protect yourself is to keep an eye out – and know what to watch for.

Warning signs of an intoxicated driver

Drunk drivers may exhibit careless behaviors such as:

  • Speeding
  • Swerving
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Drifting across the centerline or shoulder
  • Making sudden stops or accelerations

If you witness a suspicious driver, make a mental note of the license plate, call 911 and give that vehicle plenty of space.

Dont take any chances

Never get behind the wheel if there’s a chance you’ve had too much to drink. Plan ahead for get-togethers so you aren’t left with a dilemma on how to get home. If a designated driver isn’t available, call a cab or an Uber, or consider staying overnight. Always err on the side of safety.

A tragic accident this time of year can ruin your holiday season. Nobody wants to spend their Hanukkah, Christmas or New Year’s in a hospital – or, worse, in a funeral home.