Christmas Eve is PEAK for car park crashes: How to stay safe on the roads

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They will already have plenty on their minds, but shoppers picking up last-minute food or gifts this Christmas may want to pay extra attention when pulling out of a parking space. 

That is because, according to new research, Christmas Eve is the most likely day for motorists to crash in a car park.

Admiral Car Insurance named 24 December as the day where most car park accidents occur, while 23 December was the fourth most risky day. 

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Christmas Eve is the date that most car park collisions happen, research from Admiral shows

Christmas Eve is the date that most car park collisions happen, research from Admiral shows

The insurer analysed its claims records from the last nine years, and found that Fridays in December had some of the highest claim volumes in any given year. 

This was including all accidents, not just those in car parks.  

There are a number of reasons for this, including the weather, the number of people on the roads, and people becoming stressed due to the Christmas rush. 

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However, it is not just these dates when motorists should be careful as the insurer warned drivers should take extra care during the whole of December.

Of the ten days that recorded the highest volume of overall accident claims, half fell in the final month of the year. 

Claims data showed that the 4 and 5 December historically had more accident claims registered than any other December dates.

Across the year, these dates generally have the second and third highest claims volumes respectively, with only 18 January having more car accident claims each year.

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The first, second and third Fridays in December also all feature in the top five days of the weeks for accident claims, with only the third Friday in January having more claims.

REVEALED: THE RISKIEST DAYS FOR CAR ACCIDENTS  
Half of the top 10 days for accident claims between 2012 and 2020 were in December
The 3rd Friday of January
The 3rd Friday of December
The 1st Friday of December
The 2nd Friday of December
The 4th Friday of November
The 2nd Thursday of December
The 1st Friday of February
The 1st Friday of November
The 1st Thursday of December
The 1st Wednesday of December
Source: Admiral  

Admiral said this could be due to a combination of high traffic volumes in the last few days before Christmas, as well as an increase in last-minute shoppers who may be stressed and not fully concentrating. 

Lorna Connelly, head of claims at Admiral, said: ‘Last year lockdown restrictions saw less traffic on the roads in the run up to Christmas, but this year we’re expecting more typical traffic volumes with many drivers taking to the roads to visit friends and family, hit the shops and enjoy festive days out. 

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‘Darker days and bad weather mean difficult driving conditions. 

‘And because our festive celebrations were limited by last year’s lockdown, many drivers may be planning more journeys this December. 

‘No matter how long the journey, whether it be to local shops or a longer journey to visit loved ones, driving in winter weather can always be challenging and it’s best to be prepared.’

How to drive safely this Christmas 

Admiral has created the following guide for staying safe and stress-free when driving during this festive period.

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1) Plan ahead: Pack a bag with anything you’ll need for the trip the night before. Plan your route, and check for any potential road works or traffic black spots before you head off.

2) Car maintenance: A well-maintained car isn’t just more reliable – it’s also safer. Basic car maintenance should only take a few minutes before you set off. Top up engine coolant, check oil levels and tyre pressure.

3) Concentrate: Driving while tired or low on energy is one of the biggest mistakes, so try and get a good night’s sleep. We often pay the least attention to our driving when using regular routes, so try not to become complacent. 

Tired or over-excited children in the back may also disturb your concentration, so make sure they are occupied.

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Motorists travelling this Christmas are advised to ensure they concentrate when driving

Motorists travelling this Christmas are advised to ensure they concentrate when driving

4) Technology to the rescue: Listen out for traffic alerts on the radio. Consider using an app like Waze – a live sat nav which uses data from other motorists to build a picture of traffic conditions including accidents and detours. 

Long-term, you could also consider switching to a car with modern driver assistance aids such as adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts your vehicle’s speed to keep pace with the car in front.

5) Keep calm and carry on: Relax and try to avoid road rage incidents. If another driver is being confrontational or aggressive, don’t make eye contact, don’t react and let them go on ahead. If you were at fault admit it, apologise, and move on.

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6) You’re not alone: Familiar routes can often be the most dangerous because there’s a danger of driving on autopilot. Stick to the speed limit and stay extra-alert for other road users. 

Also, watch out for pedestrians who are looking at their mobile phone or have been celebrating in the pub and may not be concentrating on the traffic.

7) Are you sitting comfortably? Sitting in the same position in the car for long periods is a leading cause of neck and back pain. This can be made worse if you’re feeling stressed. 

Try and do a few easy exercises behind the wheel when it’s safe to do so, and try and drive in a relaxed position to reduce stress on your spine. 

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In a traffic jam, try buttock clenches, shoulder shrugs and seat braces. 

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