Essential Tips to Keep you Safe While Driving This Holiday Season
With the holiday season among us, it is important to review these tips to help ensure that you are best prepared to take on the roads this winter. December and January are full of holiday cheer and gatherings, however they are also associated with heightened inclement weather conditions and distracted driving-related occurrences. With that being said, check out the tips listed below to help keep you ready and secure behind the wheel this season.
Drinking & Driving
Despite drunk drivers always posing a threat to themselves and others when on the road, drinking is often heightened during the holiday season due to the fun of social gatherings occurring at a higher frequency. Keep yourself and others safe by not drinking if you are going out and know you must drive later. Furthermore, it is vital to be extra cautious of other drivers on the road who may be under the influence. Maintain a safe distance from others and keep an eye out for drivers who may be impaired behind the wheel.
The winter season is associated with an influx in individuals getting the common cold or other ailments due to the chilly weather, leaving them likely to take medications to help remedy their symptoms. If you find yourself in this position, be mindful of any medications you take to ensure they do not cause drowsiness if you plan on operating a vehicle that day.
Driving fatigue is often likely to occur due to increased travel distances and staying out late when out during the winter season. It can be easy to lose track of time when having fun spending time with loved ones during holiday celebrations. If you are going to a gathering of any kind and are aware of the fact that you must drive home, make sure to keep an eye on the clock so you can ensure that you will be alert enough to safely take on the road once departing.
If traveling long distances like across state lines, factor in rest time before venturing off so you can be prepared to rest your eyes if need be, leaving you refreshed to continue your trip safely after awakening. When traveling with others, another recommendation to help prevent fatigue at the wheel is to implement points to switch over who operates the vehicle for set increments to allow everyone to refuel before driving.
It is widely known that advancements in technology and overall tech use has grown tremendously over the years and continues to rise day by day, especially due to an uptick in those who utilize their phone for work use on top of personal needs. With that in mind, make sure to not fall victim to the temptations of phone use when operating a vehicle at any point. Although you may want to check that incoming text or briefly scroll through your Instagram feed, taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds can leave you wandering off track, putting yourself and others at risk of collision. Stay mindful of your own actions and always be on the lookout for other drivers who may not be focused behind the wheel to help keep the roads safe.
As previously mentioned, this time of year often comes with increased travel so make sure your vehicle is free of distractions to keep you honed in on the road ahead. Make sure any children are properly fastened in and occupied to keep from distracting you while driving. Furthermore, when driving with animals it is important to ensure they are comfortably retained so you can smoothly head to your destination without the risk of interference from others present.
Road Conditions & Black Ice
The winter season is known to bring unexpected weather that can leave you in less-than-optimal driving conditions such as snow, ice, hail, and freezing temperatures. To best prepare yourself, keep track of the weather in your area to stay up-to-date on any inclement conditions that may make driving riskier. Staying aware of the coming weather can allow you to plan your route ahead so you can pick the roads you’re most comfortable driving on and maintain proper lighting to guarantee visibility.
Black ice commonly forms on roads due to freezing temperatures in the winter mornings and nights. To best prevent dangerous encounters with black ice, familiarize yourself with these pointers:
- Lighting – Black ice is visually hard to notice aside from the sheen it gives off, so driving on roads with proper lighting and turning on your headlights when needed will help you notice the deceptive ice ahead.
- Drive slowly – Maintaining a safe speed when on the road helps to ensure that your vehicle won’t slip out of control if an encounter with black ice occurs.
- Stay calm – If you’ve stumbled across black ice and begin to slide, remember to remain calm, don’t vigorously turn your steering wheel in any direction, take your foot off the accelerator and lightly pump the brakes to prevent you from spinning out of control.
Overall Safety Measures
There are a few general recommendations everyone should implement before the winter season approaches to keep you ready for whatever conditions lie ahead. First, check your car to certify your tires have proper traction, ensure your car’s heating controls are functioning properly, make sure headlights and taillights are working as intended, and keep an ice scraper and other tools in your vehicle at all times to help to reduce your risk of issues driving this season. Put together a safety/emergency kit to keep in your vehicle at all times so you’re not left wondering what to do if an issue were to occur. Finally, always remember to wear your seatbelt as well as all passengers to keep everyone as secure as possible when on the road.
Staying mindful of these tips will help ensure that you are best prepared to handle whatever the winter may bring this year so you can focus on enjoying the time spent with your loved ones this holiday season!