The holiday season is a joyous time of the year, and many people will travel to be with their loved ones. Some people have to travel long distances to get to holiday gathering, however.
During the holiday season, many motorists will be on the roads. Whether you are going across town or to another state, you are likely to encounter heavier traffic than normal. You may also encounter poor, dangerous weather conditions.
To help you stay safe on the road this holiday season, you can review and follow important driving safety tips. Follow these tips to help keep you and your family safe on the road this holiday season.
Check Your Car’s Tires
The tires on your car should be rotated regularly to help even the wear on them. Use the penny test to check the treads. Turn a penny upside down, and if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you should replace your tires.
You should also check your tire pressure to make sure that it complies with the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found inside the driver’s door. Check your tire pressure when the tires are cool, not after you have just taken a trip.
Check Your Car’s Fluids
Keeping your car in proper working condition requires constant maintenance. Check your coolant level and your oil level. If these are low, top them off. Also check your car’s windshield wiper fluid level. Since you may encounter snow on your trip, you want to make sure you can clean your windshield from time to time. Top this off, and pack an extra bottle in your trunk just in case.
Keep Safety Gear in the Car
While you do not expect to get stranded, be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Make sure you carry the following in your vehicle:
- Extra batteries.
- Blankets and gloves.
- External cellphone charger.
Do Not Drink and Drive
Even if you are just traveling across town, do not drive after drinking. Your ability to drive will be impaired, and you need to be focused and attentive in potentially hazardous weather conditions.
If you are going to drink, have someone else drive you home, or you can stay with your family or friends. With so many other cars on the road and the weather possibly being bad, you need to remain in your best mental state and avoid any alcohol. Drunk driving can lead to a severe collision.
Avoiding distractions is key to staying safe on the road. Two common distractions include:
- Cellphone: Put your cellphone away. If you need it for directions, let someone else in the car help you. If possible, use Bluetooth to make a phone call.
- Passengers: Make sure everyone else remains quiet during your trip. You need to focus on the task at hand, and having people talking loudly, laughing, or dealing with screaming children can cause serious problems.
Adjust Your Travel Time
If you can, adjust your travel time to avoid peak hours. Starting your trip later in the day after other drivers have already hit the road can help you avoid traffic congestion. Not only will this keep your frustration level down, it can also keep you safe.
You should also consider adjusting your travel days. Some holiday travel days are busier than others. If you have flexibility, choose a less heavily traveled day to make your trip. This can help you stay safe.
Frequently Check the Weather Forecast
In the winter, the weather can change quickly. Even if it is sunny when you start your journey, you could encounter snow later. Be prepared for all types of weather conditions by checking the weather report.
Knowing the weather will also help you adjust your travel times. You may want to delay the start of your trip if a snowstorm is expected during the time you want to leave. While that may mean less time at your destination, it will help you stay safe.
Get Enough Rest
Being well-rested is important. If you do not get enough sleep, you could be drowsy when you are behind the wheel, limiting your reaction time. In fact, drowsiness has similar effects on the body as alcohol.
Make sure you have everything planned out before you go to bed the night before your trip. Even if you are taking a relatively short drive, you do not want to be stressed or have to worry about packing in the morning. You want to be able to get up and hit the road. That will help you sleep better, and it will help you stay focused while driving.
Know Your Limits
Many people will push themselves so that they can quickly get to their holiday destination. However, this is dangerous, and you need to make safety a priority.
If you feel tired, pull over. Do not risk your life and the safety of others. If you are traveling with other people, switch driving responsibilities frequently. While this might mean making more stops, it will help keep everyone fresh while they are driving.
Know Your Route
You will probably have a navigation device available while driving, but you should always know your route before hitting the road. Figure out an alternate route as well. You never know what to expect while driving during the holiday season. With extra traffic, there may be more car accidents. With poor weather, there may be more collisions as well. As a result, you may need to find an alternative route. Make sure you know your options so that you can make quick and safe decisions.
Defensive driving means to follow the laws and unwritten rules of the road to stay safe. Let other drivers pass, and do not try to police anyone who may be violating the law. With more cars on the road and potentially hazardous weather conditions, defensive driving can be key to staying safe.
Watch Your Speed
While you may normally drive at or slightly above the posted speed limit, the holiday season is a time to adjust your norms. With many more cars on the road, you may not be able to travel at higher speeds because of the congestion.
Depending on the weather conditions, it might not be wise to drive at higher speeds. With snow or ice on the road, driving slower is one of the best ways to stay safe. If you speed, you may not be able to stop in time to avoid an accident. You can also get a ticket.
Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights After a Holiday Collision
Driving during the holiday season can be difficult and stressful. By following a few driving tips, you can give yourself a better chance of staying safe. However, you cannot control other drivers. If you become involved in a collision, you can speak to one of our Virginia Beach car accident lawyers. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we protect those injured by negligent motorists. Contact us online or call us at 757-352-2237 for a free consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.