Driving is an activity that demands our full attention. The holiday season brings its own unique set of challenges. External factors such as inclement weather, stress, and increased crimes of opportunity make holidays a time to practice extra caution. With that in mind, here are some things you can do to enjoy this special time of year, while staying safe on the road.
- Distracted driving is even more of a problem during the holiday season due to increased travel and hectic schedules. When you’re driving, make sure you give it your full attention. Limit using cell phones, adjusting the radio or reading navigation devices.
- Drive defensively. Stay alert, and focus on the big picture. Keep your eyes focused on scanning what’s up ahead of you, not just the area immediately around you.
- Holiday get-togethers, lack of sleep and shorter hours of daylight make drivers more at risk of drowsiness. Get adequate rest, take frequent breaks, allow additional travel time, and split up driving time with a passenger.
- With holiday celebrations, there’s an increase in impaired drivers. Don’t become a holiday statistic. Drink responsibly and use a designated driver if necessary. Be extra cautious when traveling at night.
- Winter weather can change rapidly, making for hazardous road conditions. Check the forecast and road reports in advance of traveling and have alternate plans for bad weather. If you are caught in bad weather, find shelter and wait out the storm. Do NOT sit in a car with the engine running to keep warm – you put yourself at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Keep your vehicle well maintained; keep tires properly inflated (including your spare). Always carry an emergency kit that includes flashlights, jumper cables, blankets and basic tools. Make sure family and friends are aware of your travel plans.
- Increased holiday traffic includes a surge of commercial vehicles on the road. Be aware of the large blind spot danger zones behind, in front and to the sides of these vehicles.
- Got new drivers in your family? It’s a good idea to put driving instruction on hold for them during this stressful time of the season.
- Crime increases during the holidays. If you shop at night, park in a well-lighted area. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
- 10. Place any valuables and packages in the trunk or out of sight. When approaching and leaving your vehicle be aware of your surroundings. If something doesn’t seem right, trust your instincts and avoid the situation.
Is there any safety advice that has worked well for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!