Insurance Insights with Brian

Trouble lurks behind the wheel
Brian McGrail

As wonderful as the holidays are, they can also be a bit dangerous—especially when you’re on the road.

A few years back, my family had gathered to celebrate the holidays at a restaurant (remember when that was an easy option?). My dad was following my sister, and no doubt enjoying the conversation his grandkids were supplying from the backseat. But then, it happened.

Suddenly, my dad rear-ended my sister’s car, which had stopped at a red light. Thankfully, no one was hurt, and it was only a minor fender bender. It just goes to show you, accidents can happen to the best of us—even a grandfather with decades of driving experience and toting precious cargo—his beloved grandkids—can fall prey to distraction behind the wheel. Of course, at dinner, the wreck headlined the conversation much to my dad’s dismay and chagrin.

I share this story as a friendly reminder that every time we get behind the wheel, we know trouble lurks. But the holidays—and quite possibly the 2020 holidays—may be more troublesome.

Why? According to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), this year may look different as more families consider staying closer to home due to COVID-19. Still, people will likely want to get out of the house, and that means busier roads. I know my family has already ruled out flying during the holidays this year. Instead, we’ll likely head to Breckenridge for some snowshoeing.

“Regardless of how people plan to spend time with their loved ones this year, the holiday season can be very stressful,” says Blake White, a CSP sergeant. “We typically see a lot of road rage, aggressive driving, and crashes because people are overwhelmed and let that stress out in inappropriate ways.”

Unfortunately, one of those ways is driving under the influence.

“Even at the height of closures and stay-at-home orders, when there were fewer vehicles on the roads, we continued to see impaired drivers,” White says. “We want drivers to remember lives are on the line when they get behind the wheel.”

I echo Sgt. White’s sentiments and share these additional tips for safer roads this holiday season:

  • Plan for heavy traffic.
  • Put away your cell phone and any other distractions.
  • Practice defensive driving.
  • Designate a sober driver or use a ride-sharing service, such as Uber or Lyft, if you plan on drinking to get home safely after holiday parties.
  • Make sure your auto insurance policy protects you against underinsured and uninsured motorists.

From my family (including my dad!) to yours, we wish you the happiest and safest of holidays!

Pro Tip

Practice good insurance maintenance

Each year, your driving habits and the environment around you may change. Talk with your insurance agent at least once a year to make sure you still have the right coverage to protect you and your family. Learn more at


Brian McGrail is the vice president of insurance for AAA Colorado.