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The holidays are coming up and if you’re anything like us, you’re already looking forward to quality time spent with family and friends. While the holidays are a joyous time, they are also some of the busiest and perilous on the road. The increased hustle and bustle, along with alcohol consumption at holiday parties and hazardous road conditions due to winter weather, mean drivers need to be extra careful while driving from point A to point B.
While shoppers and revelers are driving, they should be aware of these on-road risks specific to the holidays:
● Increased Traffic
● Increased Distractions
● Increased Time Demands
● Increased Uncertainty
● Increased Alcohol Consumption
An auto accident will quickly turn holiday festivities into tragedies. Friend, Levinson &Turner Law knows that one wrong move on the road can completely ruin a time of celebration and joy. While you cannot completely control the road conditions or the actions of other drivers, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of injury while driving. Here our are top tips to stay safe and avoid an auto accident this holiday season:
● Avoid distractions while driving: There’s no doubt that drivers have a lot running through their mind during the holidays -- the party they’re about to attend, or the presents you’re rushing to buy, or if they’ll be on time to that holiday concert...the list goes on and on. When you’re driving, it’s important to relax and push those thoughts to the side. Try to focus on the road and be intentional about the actions you’re taking instead of just going through the motions. Distracted driving is responsible for thousands of deaths and injuries each year. Keep in mind that the drivers around you will be more distraction during the holidays, too, and adopt a defensive driver mentality. Additionally, drivers should avoid cell-phone related distractions like texting or talking on the phone. It can be tempting to call or text friends/relatives to tell them you’ll be late when you’re on the road, but safety is key and it is more important that you arrive in one piece.
● Don’t drink and drive: Not surprisingly, drunk driving accidents peak during the holiday season. It is an incredibly high-risk time for deaths and injuries caused by under-the-influence drivers. If you’re going to a holiday celebration where you can reasonably expect to be served alcohol, it’s wise to arrive with a plan of action in the case that you have a drink or two. Some alternatives to driving home yourself include having a designated driver who refrains from consuming alcohol or any other impairing substances and/or spending the night at the house where the party occurs.
● Avoid late-night driving on highways: Aside from the lower visibility and possibility of hazardous weather you cannot see well, nighttime is also when drunk drivers are most likely to be on the road. Prioritize your safety by making sure you’re aware of the road and the hazards unique to driving late at night. It’s best to avoid driving at high speeds once dark falls altogether if possible.
● Buckle up: Many auto accident deaths are compounded by people not wearing seat-belts. No matter how long or short your journey is, make sure you and your family take a few extra seconds to fasten your seatbelts -- it’s an easy yet effective way to mitigate injury risk in the event of an accident. Remember that small children should also be buckled into a car seat.
● Plan for icy and snowy weather: In the event of inclement weather, you may be stranded on the road in your vehicle until someone can assist you. Make sure you are well-prepared for this with an emergency kit, especially one that is especially made for cars or travel. These kits are stocked with essential items like food, water, blankets, flashlights, relevant tools for your survival, and flashing safety signals.They can be the difference between life and death if you are affected by winter weather or if you find yourself stuck in your vehicle after an accident.
● Build in extra time to get to your destination: With inclement weather, increased traffic, and the risk of distracted driving, it’s best to add an extra twenty minutes of built-in time to get to your destination on time. Assume it will take longer than expected so that you don’t run the risk of rushing and putting yourself and others at risk of an accident with hazardous driving practices like speeding.
● Make sure you get adequate sleep before a road trip: If you anticipate driving long distances (greater than a few hours) the next day, make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before. Fatigue makes your mind less sharp and impairs your ability to be completely aware of your actions and surroundings, putting you at greater risk of distracted driving and/or an auto accident.
● Stay current on maintenance: Be sure to have your car regularly serviced during the winter months. Have a professional mechanic check and rotate your tires, test your brakes, and change your oil. At home, make sure you refill wiper fluids regularly.
The holidays are a time for joy, and a car accident can quickly replace your family’s happiness with tragedy. Follow our holiday road safety tips and make sure you plan ahead for the increased risk of an auto accident.
It is important to stay safe on the road during the holidays, but accidents do happen. If you have been injured in an auto accident, you might consider scheduling a consultation with an auto accident attorney.