The holidays are coming up and many of us will be traveling to see friends and families. AAA estimates that during the Christmas and New Year’s season, roughly 95 million Americans hit the road. Whenever there are more cars on the road, the chances of accidents increase. That’s why it’s so important to take into consideration holiday driving safety tips.
The holidays themselves also bring stress. A recent survey of 1,000 drivers found that more than 18% experience six or more acts of aggression while driving during the holidays. A third of these drivers say they’re more likely to be provoked to aggressive driving during the holidays.
In addition, holiday revelry increases the chances of impaired and drowsy drivers on the road. Never drink and drive. Just don’t do it! If you enjoy some holiday cheer, please choose a designated driver ahead of time.
As for drowsy driving, reconsider your options before getting behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, close to a third of American drivers admit that they have nodded off behind the wheel, while more than half of drivers confessed to driving sleepy. Sadly, driving drowsy causes at least 100,000 crashes every year, resulting in approximately 1,500 deaths 71,000 injuries.
Heed These Holiday Driving Safety Tips
Let’s work together to keep the roads safe with these simple holiday driving safety tips brought to you in part by The Dori Slosberg Foundation:
- Before you begin your trip, make sure your vehicle is tuned up and in good shape for travel.
- Check the weather forecast before leaving to ensure safe driving conditions.
- Make sure you start your journey off well-rested. Get enough sleep the night before and be fully awake when beginning your trip. Being drowsy when you start driving, no matter what time of day it is can cause you to fall back asleep behind the wheel. Combat this risk by going to sleep 2 or 3 hours before your regular bedtime. This extra sleep will be vital in ensuring a safe trip for you and your passengers.
- Restrain yourself and your passengers properly in seat belts and car seats for the little ones. If available, always put children in the rear seat.
- Stay fresh and alert when driving. Take plenty of breaks, and do not push yourself. Listening to music you enjoy, talking to people in the car, or taking in the scenery as long as it is safe to do so are all things you can do to stay alert. If your mind has just enough stimulation, it will stay engaged in the task of driving and watching out for dangerous situations. But remember, if you are tired, it’s ok to pull off the road into a rest stop or off-ramp. Take a few minutes to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, or be physically active. Being active will recharge the mind and revitalize you.
- Don’t eat heavy meals on the road. Eating carbohydrate-heavy meals while driving isn’t a good option because the body is more sedentary than normal. The carbs are energy for your body, but when you eat them and then sit for hours afterward, they turn into sugars, which then turn into blood glucose, which in high doses can make even non-diabetic people drowsy or cause them to fall asleep. By keeping the carbohydrates down, it ensures keeping alert while driving.
- Always use designated drivers if you have consumed alcohol or any other substance. Store the numbers of local cab companies and/or save the apps of ride share services in your phone, so you can use them if your night gets out of hand or your DD does.
- Do not text and drive. Also, refrain from checking e-mails on your smartphone. Quite frankly, just don’t drive distracted. That can mean a number of things, from talking on the phone to eating/drinking to yelling at your noisy kids in the backseat. Don’t let what seems like harmless activities turn into a tragic situation. Finish what you need to do before you start your car or after you arrive safely at your destination, and request the courtesy of a distraction-free zone from your passengers. Don’t let distractions in the car take your attention from the road.
- Keep valuables in your trunk or another covered area. This will decrease the odds of these items being stolen if left in an unattended car.
The holidays are a fun time to spend with family and friends, not a time to be spent in the hospital. Be careful out there! However, if you are injured this holiday season as a result of another’s negligence, contact the LaBovick Law Group for a free consultation. Our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.