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Safe-driving tips for the holidays

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Photo courtesy of The Washington Post

The holidays are a special time for family and tradition. But it’s no surprise the holiday season is a frenzy for many: last minute shopping, get-togethers with the in-laws, and extra traffic. During the holidays, tensions run high especially on the roadways. Tension can turn into tragedy when people are injured or killed in traffic accidents. Motorists need to be mindful of their actions.

Stressful scenarios include long road trips, winter weather conditions, and impaired drivers. The year-end holiday season is a challenging time on the roadways, and there is nothing more jolly than patience and safe-driving practices behind the wheel. Here are safe-driving tips to keep your travels and holidays joyful:

  • Before driving on roadways, check your vehicle properly. Make sure your car is tuned up and in good condition for travel. Clear ice and snow from all mirrors, windows and lights. Be prepared for winter driving conditions (e.g. tire chains for driving through snow and ice) and potential hazards.
  • Keep winter car supplies. In case of an emergency, equip your vehicle with the following items:
    • battery jumper cables
    • blankets
    • scraper and brush
    • flashlight and batteries
    • warm clothing
    • food and water
    • road flares
  • Protect yourself and your passengers: Wear seat belts and use car safety seats when necessary. The rear seat is the safest place for children of all age groups.
  • Plan your travels accordingly: Avoid driving during peak traffic hours, snow or heavy rain. Know current conditions and don’t try to out-drive winter weather.
  • Be alert. Do not drive if you are tired. Take multiple breaks and pull of the road if you need to rest. Most crashes occur during the late night/early morning hours.
  • Drive the speed limit. Use brakes carefully: leave plenty of stopping room between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. It’s important to provide plenty of time and distance to react to traffic around you.
  • Do not pass or cut off motorists. Do not try to pass or cut in front of other motorists and stay out of a truck’s blind spot. Let aggressive and impatient drivers pass. It is not worth the risk.
  • Do not drive under the influence! If you are planning on drinking, choose a designated driver, or take a taxi or ride share. The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that 40% of traffic-related deaths during Christmas and New Year’s involve drunk drivers — a 12% increase over the rest of the month of December.
  • Avoid driving distractions: do not text or talk while behind the wheel. Pull off the road if you need to use your cell.
  • If you are involved in an accident: 
    • Check to see if anyone is injured.
    • If necessary, call 911 and request emergency services.
    • If possible, move your vehicle off the road.
    • Exchange name, address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration, and insurance information with all drivers or property owners who are involved. You must show your driver’s license and registration if asked to do so.
    • If you have damaged a parked vehicle or stationary property, you must try to locate the owner to report the accident or notify the police.

Enjoy your holiday with family and friends, arrive at your destination safely and without incident. You can contact Kershaw, Cook & Talley for a free case consultation at 888-997-5170.

 

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