For the professional drivers who work through the busy end-of-year holiday season, more vehicles on the road—combined with obvious hazards like snow, rain, and ice—often lead to more dangerous trips.
However, risky driving behaviors often don't peak during holiday weeks themselves, according to new Samsara data. Rather, these issues are more common in the weeks leading up to and following holidays.
“In fact, one study found that harsh braking is one of the most likely predictors of future crashes. For this reason, any rise in harsh braking is cause for concern, and our data showed higher levels of this behavior surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday,” says Samsara.
- Harsh braking was 22% higher the week before Thanksgiving, compared to the week of the holiday. Furthermore, harsh braking was 13% higher in the week after Thanksgiving, compared to Thanksgiving week.
- When looking at incidents of speeding, as compared to Thanksgiving week, the study found that incidents were 21% higher the week before and incidents were 22% higher the week after.
- However, speeding was not uniform across the country, as is the case with harsh braking, where incident rates are more consistent. Many of the states with the highest level of speeding per trip were clustered in the Northeast, including Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Maryland.
- Trips where speeding occurs are more likely to start mid-morning, 9-11 a.m., while they are least likely to start late at night, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. This suggests that professional drivers aren’t speeding when there is a relatively open road in front of them late at night, but rather at times when there are likely more drivers on the road.
- Data showed that speeding incidents were 9% higher the week before Independence Day and incidents were 10% higher the week after in 2022. A similar trend occurred in 2023 when speeding incidents, compared to the week of Independence Day, were 15% higher the week before and incidents were 14% higher the week after.