The holiday season brings a number of unique driving risks. During this time of year, there can be difficult weather conditions, limited daylight, and drivers in unfamiliar areas. Here are five ways you can drive safely and smartly this holiday season.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you start your trip, make sure your vehicle is in good shape for travel. This is especially important for winter driving conditions. Check the weather before heading out to ensure the roads are safe to drive on. And don’t forget a windshield scraper!
2. Stay Fresh And Alert
Make sure you’re well-rested before a long drive. A study carried out by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) discovered that, from 2009 to 2013, 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths were attributed to driver fatigue. Plan the trip so you share the driving and take regular breaks to avoid drowsy driving.
3. Mind Your Speed
Give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to the traffic around you. An Automotive Fleet Magazine article notes that for every one percent increase in speed, a driver’s chance of an accident increases by two percent, the chance of serious injury increases by three percent, and the chance of a fatality increases by about four percent.
4. Avoid Distractions
According to Distraction.gov, the “Official U.S. Government Website for Distracted Driving”, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the distance of an entire football field. Driving requires your full attention. When you’re able to do so safely, pull off to the side of the road or find the nearest rest stop when you have to use your cell phone.
5. Don’t Drive Impaired
If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign has set out to end drunk driving through cutting-edge technology. Using a designated driver when you have a couple of holiday refreshments is always the safest choice.