TRAVELING TO SEE FAMILY AND FRIENDS THIS SEASON? AVOID DANGEROUS HIGHWAY DISASTERS WITH THESE TIPS
For many Americans, the holidays are a time to jump in the family vehicle and make the hike to visit loved ones who live far away. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, long-distance trips (more than 50 miles, one way) increase by 54% over the short Thanksgiving holiday period and by 24% through the Christmas and New Years stretch. About 91% of holiday travel is done by personal vehicle. These facts mean our nation’s major highways are more crowded than usual with travelers who may not be familiar with the roads.
Concerns like inclement weather, drowsy driving, distracted driving and, the always dangerous, driving while under the influence are heightened during the holiday season. As an increased number of people crowd onto the roadways, more of these hazardous driving situations become realities. It’s no wonder that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years consistently rank in Deadliest Holiday Lists.
Before you gas up for that long drive this year, check out the list below for tips to prepare you for safe holiday travel.
Never start a trip after you’ve been drinking.
Get some rest and allow your body enough time to return to an alert state before getting behind the wheel for any long, or even short, periods of time.
Get a good night’s sleep before a long-distance trip.
Drowsy driving is one of the deadliest factors on the road. Don’t make plans to leave straight from work, early in the morning or at times you would otherwise be resting. If you become tired while driving, stop and rest or get some caffeine to wake you up.
Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles.
The potential for multiple car accidents increases in heavy traffic. Maintain safe speeds and distance from the vehicles around you to ensure you have time to stop or space to avoid a collision. A safe rule to stick to is one car length for every ten miles per hour you’re traveling.
Don’t be a distracted driver.
Distracted driving accidents now make up roughly one-quarter of all traffic accidents. With the widespread use of cell phones and other handheld devices, we are less present behind the wheel than ever before. When you are operating a vehicle, you need to be focused on one thing only: the road. Leave work emails, family texts and GPS directions for your rest breaks and gas stops.
Keep your seatbelt on.
It is common for drivers or their family members to unbuckle during long drives for comfort. Everyone in the vehicle should wear their seatbelts at all times while the car is in motion. It is no secret that seatbelts save lives, especially in high-speed auto crashes.
Maintain your vehicle.
Before your trip, take some time to ensure your vehicle’s safety. Check tire pressure, refill washer fluid and test all lights and signals. Make sure that there is nothing lose or hanging from your vehicle. If you should break down while traveling, be sure to pull as far off the road as you can or at a designated rest stop if possible.
Map your route before you embark on your trip and be ready for crowded roads. Have emergency roadside assistance information on hand. Keep cell phones charged and handy in the event of an accident.
Keep the holidays merry and bright and protect yourself and your loved ones from deadly highway accidents by staying alert and properly preparing for your trip.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.