Drive Safely This Election Day

By Insurance.com Posted : 10/31/2008

With Election Day nearly upon us, eager voters will be getting an early (or late) start to the polling booth to cast their vote to determine the next president (and other important positions and laws).

A study published in the October 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that Election Day is a relatively dangerous day to drive. The study analyzed accidents during polling hours on Tuesdays between 1976 and 2004, and found that the risk of death on an election day was 18 percent higher than on the previous or following Tuesdays.

It's clear that there are different driving habits on the roads on these Tuesdays compared to others, and the time of year probably doesn't help. With more drivers out before and after traditional 9 to 5 work hours, this means there will be more cars on the road during the hours of darkness, with pedestrians making their way to and from the polling booths. It's a recipe for trouble-"but some extra care and attention could make a big difference.

A recent Journal of the American Medical Association study found that driving accidents on Election Day carry an 18 percent higher risk of fatalities than surrounding Tuesdays.

Plan your trip
Reduce the amount of driving you need to do, by knowing where your polling station is well in advance. You should have been sent notification through the mail of where your station is, and it should also be on your voter registration card. A list of stations may also be published in your local paper on Election Day, and there could be signage in your neighborhood pointing the way to the nearest station as well. Finally, many boards of elections allow you to find your polling place online or by phone.

Be patient
There are going to be a lot of other voters out on the road with you, and it could take some time to find a parking space. You may have to settle for parking further away from the polling station than you'd originally hoped. That's okay, even if the weather is bad. Find a spot, park, and vote. The longer you're in your car, the more time you have to be in an accident.

Wear your seat belt, keep your eyes open
Even if you're just driving around your neighborhood to find your polling station, wear your seat belt. A slow-speed crash could still cause injuries, and seat-belts are proven to reduce injuries. Remember that there will be more pedestrian traffic as well, with many people walking to the polling station rather than driving. In addition, parking lots at or near polling locations can be dangerous for drivers and pedestrians alike. With cars constantly coming and going and people walking in front of, between, and behind cars, accidents are more likely. People may have their minds on going in to vote, or be thinking of how they just voted. Driving and walking safely will keep everyone safe.

Do you have any questions or comments? Please let us know.

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