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Safe Holiday Driving Tips

The holidays are a popular time for travelers. For most, this time of year is about spending time with family and friends, and usually involves traveling to various holiday events. Another part of the season is the additional amount of traffic that comes with the increased amount of holiday shoppers on the road. This brings a number of unique driving risks, including crowded highways, limited daylight, and drivers in unfamiliar areas. Winter storms, too, can make holiday driving challenging as can fellow drivers who may have overindulged in spiked eggnog.

Follow these driving tips to stay safe on the roads and have a wonderful holiday:

  1. Plan Ahead

As with travel at any other time of year, extensive planning ensures that you are prepared for whatever may happen during your trip. One of the most common issues that travelers experience during the holidays is car trouble. Being stuck on the side of the road is the last thing you want to do on your vacation. Before you get on the road, make sure your vehicle is in good shape for travel. A basic auto maintenance check up should be performed prior to hitting the road.

  1. Expect the worst

“Keep a winter survival kit in your car,” advises Chris Hayes, who specializes in transportation and risk control for Travelers Insurance. “It should include an ice scraper, snow shovel, sand/salt, warm clothes, and energy bars or trail mix.” Other experts suggest carrying blankets, water, an old towel (in case you need to make repairs under the car), jumper cables, duct tape, a car jack, and a phone charger.

And don’t forget to check on the state of your spare tire. According to a recent Liberty Mutual poll, 3 out of 10 respondents admitted they don’t take that important step before they hit the road. “Imagine getting a flat only to find out that your spare is also flat!” exclaims Wade.

  1. Stay Fresh and Alert

Make sure you’re well-rested before a long drive. Plan the trip so you share the driving and take regular breaks to avoid drowsy driving. Making frequent stops to rest or just stretch your legs is important for keeping your energy level high enough to be alert on the road. Even just stopping for a few minutes every few hours can do wonders for your energy level.

  1. 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 one percent increase in speed, a driver’s chance of an accident increases by two percent, the chance of serious injury increases by three percent, and the chance of a fatality increases by about four percent.

  1. Drive Defensively

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.

  1. Don’t Drive Impaired

If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. NHTSA’s  “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign has set out to end drunk driving through cutting-edge technology. Using a designated driver when you have a couple of holiday refreshments is always the safest choice.

  1. Avoid Distractions

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’s enough time to travel the distance of an entire football field. Driving requires your full attention. When you’re able to do so safely, pull off to the side of the road or find the nearest rest stop when you have to use your cell phone.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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