Christmas can be a really joyous time of the year for many people, but for some, it is the saddest. As people all around the country join together to see their friends and family, it is a stark reminder for those who have lost loved ones that they can’t.
And the grief is especially strong if that person passed away at Christmas, with this time of the year not only reminding people of the loved one they are missing, but also the anniversary of their death.
That is why AA is desperately trying to reduce the number of fatalities that occur on Britain’s roads over the festive period, with Christmas being one of the most dangerous times of the year to get behind the wheel.
As there are so many social occasions during December with people celebrating Christmas and New Year, it presents more opportunities for drivers to hit the road after having something to drink, which could put theirs or someone else’s lives at danger.
That is why the AA has launched its drink-drive campaign ahead of the festive season, telling motorists “Don’t risk it!”
President of the organisation Edmund King stated: “If you are going to drink, don’t drive, and if you are going to drive, don’t drink.”
He noted that Christmastime offers more temptations to drink but the repercussions could be huge, adding: “It could cost your licence, your livelihood or your life.”
There will be more police on the roads over the next few weeks to crack down on drink-drivers in an attempt to reduce the number of fatalities, and nearly half (48 per cent) of motorists think they are more likely to be caught after having an alcoholic beverage at this time of the year.
This could discourage them from touching a drink when they go to social events, even if the figures from the Department for Transport are not enough of a deterrent.
It revealed that 6,070 people were reported in drink-driving accidents in 2016 in the UK, and as many as 220 of these were killed.
What’s more, the Road Safety Foundation reported that last year saw the highest number of road deaths since 2011.
Its figures showed that over the last seven years, 2,549 people have lost their lives unnecessarily due to accidents on Britain’s streets, leaving families devastated and broken at dealing with such a shocking loss.
Not being able to prepare for a death or know how a loved one would like their funeral to be makes bereavement even harder for many people, which is why it is important to discuss funeral options at the earliest opportunity.
End-of-life organisation Dying Matters held its Awareness Week earlier this year simply to encourage people to talk about death, in hopes that this will help those who are grieving feel more supported when they are going through their loss.
What’s more, it also invites people to inform their loved ones about how they would like their funeral to be, with the group telling the BBC: “Talking about dying makes it more likely that you, or your loved one, will die as you might have wished.”
It will also help those who are left behind know whether the deceased would have preferred a burial or a direct cremation, and what they would want for their funeral service.