Most of us are looking forward to spending more time with family and friends during this holiday season. These get-togethers might take place in our own communities or at a far-off home of a loved one. Unfortunately, there’s always an uptick in traffic accidents, injuries, and deaths during the holiday season. In fact, according to the National Safety Commission, “Traveling by car has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile.” This is likely because there are more drivers on the road, and those drivers may be distracted, in a hurry, driving on unfamiliar roads, or even driving while under the influence.
Whether you’re driving across town or halfway across the country, here are some tips to help you drive safely this holiday season.
Before you leave
Safe holiday driving starts before you even leave your house. If you’re planning a road trip for the holidays, spend a little extra time preparing yourself, your family, and your vehicle before hitting the road. Gas up the car and have it serviced, if necessary, and make sure you have an appropriate vehicle emergency kit. Sign up for weather alerts at your destination and along your route or check the weather online. You may be driving in weather conditions you’re not used to. Also check traffic reports to see what to expect. If you’re using a GPS, program your destination in before you leave. If you’re using an old-school map, review your route before buckling up.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before your trip so you’re not driving drowsy. And no matter how short a distance you’re going, allow plenty of time to reach your destination without rushing. Drive at speeds safe for traffic and road conditions.
Everyone in the vehicle should have their seatbelts buckled, and small children should be strapped into an approved car seat.
On the road
No matter how far your destination, always drive defensively. You can’t control what other drivers do, but if you stay alert and practice defensive driving, you should be able to react more quickly to an emergency. Defensive driving practices include being aware of what is happening around you—frequently check ahead, behind, and in your blind spots. Stay out of others’ blind spots if possible. Don’t follow too closely. Use the three-second rule: Note an inanimate object and count the seconds between when the vehicle ahead of you passes it and you do. A three-second gap enables you to stop in time if the vehicle ahead of you ahead stops suddenly.
Another key to safe driving is to stay focused when you’re behind the wheel. You know you shouldn’t talk or text while driving, but did you know that animated conversations among passengers, listening to or changing the radio station, and eating or drinking can also distract you from your driving? Do your best to keep your full attention on the road.
Never drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs (even some over-the-counter drugs can cause impairment). Designate a driver, or call a taxi or ride share service.
Safe drivers pay less for their auto insurance
Safe driving during the holidays—and all year long—can not only help protect you and your family from danger, it can help you save money on your auto insurance. If you need car insurance, or any other type of insurance, please call your friends at Lakewood Financial Services (941-747-4600) or contact us online. Lakewood Financial is an independent agency located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, serving Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Sarasota, and surrounding communities.
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!