During the holidays, many of us pile into our cars and take long road trips across the state or across the country to celebrate with family and friends. This means that many of us will be driving for longer periods than usual, on roads we are unfamiliar with, sometimes in wintry conditions.
To stay safe on the road during the holiday season, be sure to follow these tips:
- Plan your route in advance.
Before heading out on the road, plan out the route you will use to get there. Figure out where to stop along the way, particularly if you are traveling with children. If you plan to rely on GPS navigation, set your destination before you start driving so the GPS doesn’t become a distraction. Consider a backup system, such as printed MapQuest or Google Maps directions and a road atlas, because a technology malfunction on an unfamiliar road can be scary. According to Safe Ride 4 Kids, it is also a good idea to let a family member or friend know about your intended route and timeline beforehand, so that if something unexpected happens, they can alert emergency services.
- Avoid distractions while driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people died due to distracted driving in 2016 alone. Distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from the road, even for a moment, including texting, talking on the phone or to other passengers, fiddling with the radio, eating, applying makeup, changing climate controls, handling your navigation system, and more. To stay safe, avoid these activities, keep your phone out of reach, and use hands-free controls whenever possible.
- Keep kids occupied in the car.
Bored or fighting kids in the backseat can create distractions for the driver, compromising safety, in addition to being an annoyance. Bring books, toys, video games, DVDs, activity books, and anything else you think will help keep your children occupied on a drive. Also, be prepared to make stops to let them get their energy out, particularly on a long trip.
- Pack an emergency kit (food, water, chargers, etc.).
If you get stranded and have to wait for help to come, be sure you have emergency supplies in your car. You should have nutritious food and water, a first aid kit, blankets, chargers, flashlights, a small shovel, and car repair supplies like jumper cables, a spare tire, hand tools, rags, extra fluids, and sand or traction mats. Be sure to have a phone charger that you can use in the car.
- Take frequent breaks.
Especially on long trips, breaks are essential to keep your energy and your focus as you drive. Smarter Travel recommends that drivers pull over every few hours to go to the bathroom, stretch your legs, and eat a snack. Let yourself take a nap if you need it. If possible, share driving duty with someone else in your car. This allows you to take breaks without losing time. Watch out for trucks on the roads that haven’t been taking breaks, this may lead to truck drivers to abuse medications, drugs, or alcohol while driving to remain awake on the road.
- Follow safe winter driving techniques.
If you are driving in snowy, icy, rainy, or foggy conditions, make sure to adjust your driving accordingly. Before you leave, check your tire pressure, oil level, windshield washer fluid, antifreeze, heater, brakes, lights, and defroster. While on the road, increase your following distance to 8 to 10 seconds. When accelerating, apply the gas and brakes gently to avoid skids. Reduce your speed and always drive cautiously.
Hurt in an Accident? Call Jebaily Law Firm Today
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident while traveling during the holidays, contact Jebaily Law Firm for legal assistance. If your accident was the result of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you could hold them financially accountable for your injuries and expenses with our help.
We have assisted accident victims in South Carolina for Over 50 Years, winning millions. We are ready to help you. To learn more about your best legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.