The holiday season brings a number of unique driving risks. During this time of year, there can be difficult weather conditions, limited daylight, and drivers in unfamiliar areas. Below are just a few ways you can drive safely and smartly this holiday season.
Before you start your trip, make sure your vehicle is in good shape for travel. This is especially important for winter driving conditions. Check the weather before heading out to ensure the roads are safe to drive on. And don’t forget a windshield scraper!
Stay Fresh And Alert
Make sure you are rested before a long drive. A study carried out by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that, from 2009 to 2013, 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths were attributed to driver fatigue. Plan the trip so you share the driving and take regular breaks to avoid drowsy driving.
Mind Your Speed
Give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to the traffic around you. An Automotive Fleet Magazine article notes that for every 1 percent increase in speed, a driver’s chance of an accident increases by 2 percent, the chance of serious injury increases by 3 percent, and the chance of a fatality increases by about 4 percent.
Increased holiday traffic and winter road conditions can be frustrating. Put the safety of everyone in your car first by letting impatient and aggressive drivers pass you or go through the intersection ahead of you so that you control the situation.
Don’t Drive Impaired
If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. This year, the NHTSA started a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which set out to end drunk driving through cutting-edge technology. Using a designated driver when you drink is always the safest choice.
According to Distraction.gov, the “Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving”, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that is enough time to travel the distance of an entire football field. Driving requires your full attention. When you are able to do so safely, pull off the road when you have to use your cell phone.
The Bottom Line
AAA projects record numbers for travel this year-end holiday season (December 23 to January 2) – approximately 103 million Americans will be traveling. With a little foresight and by taking precautions, you can enjoy your holiday season and stay safe as well.