Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Christmas, and New Year’s – holidays can be fun for the whole family, but driving on a holiday weekend can be more troublesome than you think. Police checkpoints are often doubled during holidays and officers are on the lookout for reckless or dangerous drivers. There’s also a higher chance of getting into an accident. Keep reading for some tips to help you celebrate safely.
It’s important to understand why playing it safe on the holidays is so important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for people ages 1-54. Additionally, over 36,000 people were killed in an auto accident in 2018.
Tip #1: Plan Ahead
There’s nothing wrong with a little fun, but it’s always best to plan your day/weekend in advance to avoid trouble. If you plan on visiting multiple locations, plan around heavy traffic and keep track of driving conditions.
Most importantly, if you plan on drinking, c,.hoose a designated driver ahead of time. Driving under the influence is a serious offense that can become a felony if there are injuries or fatalities. It’s always best to avoid a dangerous situation from the start.
Tip #2: Be Alert
It might sound like a no brainer, but when more people are on the road, you should keep yourself alert to avoid an accident. If you have to drive a long distance, make sure to get plenty of sleep and alternate driving time.
Tip #3: Don’t Rush
You can avoid rushing by planning ahead, but if you find yourself running late, don’t speed. Speeding is one of the most frequent causes of auto accidents in the U.S. It’s more important to get to your destination safely than quickly.
Tip #5: Avoid Distractions
It’s easy to get distracted on a holiday – you have things to do and people to see, but more importantly, you’re off the clock. But whether you like it or not, you’re not off the hook. If you’re behind the wheel, you have a responsibility to abide by the rules and drive responsively. Whether it’s a million incoming texts in a group chat, a family member asking for an ETA, or kids in the backseat, distractions can make driving deadly.
Tip #6: Keep Your Distance
We’ve all done it. Driving too close or tailgating is par for the course on a busy road or highway, but following too closely can quickly lead to an accident. Additionally, regardless of the reason why you ran into the car in front of you, insurance companies and the court will blame you for the accident.
Tip #7: Roll With the Punches
If road conditions change due to weather, an accident, or roadwork, adjust your speed. Hydroplaning in rain or snow can be deadly, but you can avoid disaster by adjusting your driving. Plus, many driving apps like Waze notify users of upcoming construction or road blocks so you can stay informed about the road ahead.
Tip #8: Safety Check
No one expects a car malfunction when they get behind the wheel, but things often go wrong when you least expect it. Before you get on the road, check your car for possible safety issues.
When performing your safety check, make sure to look over the following items:
- Cooling system
- Wiper blades
- Belts and hoses
- Air conditioning
You’ve Got the Green Light
Holidays and events are always more enjoyable when your safety is secured. While following safety tips can’t protect you from everything, its important to do everything you can to protect yourself and loved ones. Once you’ve ensured your safety, you have the green light to celebrate the holidays.