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Beware the crazy shoppers, drivers in the next week

December is always a busy month. From year-end concerns at work, to the various holidays and their ancillary activities, everyone is busy. And for Americans, busy means driving, whether racing to children's events at school, holiday parties or the ubiquitous driving from store to store in search of gifts of all shapes and sizes.

While you are out there, driving around Honolulu, you may want to exercise extra caution in the next few weeks, as a recent study has found that crazy traffic, fueled by tension-laden shoppers, and drunk or drugged drivers, makes the six-days around Christmas the most risky, producing 18 percent more car accidents than Thanksgiving. 

Surely, New Year's Day, with its image of the holiday to overindulge, is more dangerous. No, according to the study, Christmas had 27 percent car accidents than the start of the year.

The author of the study cautioned that shoppers, impatient and frustrated, can be easily aggravated by other drivers. This produces the potential for aggressive driving and road rage.

In addition, the numerous holiday parties create multiple opportunities for people to throw good judgment out the window and become intoxicated. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that last year, drunk drivers killed more than 1,000 people.

While Hawaii is blissfully free of the winter weather that plagues much of the U.S. mainland, if you are driving around the islands, you should be aware of the risks posed by the islands' naturally changeable weather, where blinding downpours can develop seemingly out of nowhere and road conditions can rapidly deteriorate.

This time of year, you do not want to spend time in the repair shop or hospital. Be careful and do not let stress or alcohol ruin your holidays.

Source: USA Today, "Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving," Larry Copeland, Dec. 11, 2013

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