If you’re traveling for the holidays, you need a plan to stay safe. Traveling long distances, especially after eating a heavy meal and when the roads are full of other motorists with their own holiday plans, can increase your risk of a car collision. Here’s how to stay safe:
- Plan in advance. Before you travel, look up routes and determine how much time you need to arrive at your holiday destination. Give yourself more time than you think you need, and decide when you need to leave. Remember to account for rest breaks, too.
- Have a back-up plan. Giving yourself extra time is important in case you get a flat tire or run into other unexpected problems. You will also want to have a back up plan for your entire journey. For example, if you end up having drinks with dinner, you will want to stay at a hotel or get another way home, to avoid drinking and driving. You may want to have a similar back-up plan in case a holiday dinner runs late and you’re too fatigued to drive safe.
- Get the car ready. Before you head out on a longer drive during the holidays, check your car’s tires and fluids. Make sure you have a full tank of gas and your car is handling correctly. If it has been a while, you may want a tune-up, to make sure your vehicle can safely get you to your holiday destination.
- Get yourself ready. Before traveling, make sure you get enough rest so you can drive safely. If you are unwell, skip your holiday plans. Not only will you prevent passing on any cold or flu, but you reduce the risk of causing a collision because you’re unwell.
- Pack your car smart. If you’re packing your car with holiday presents, food, or just personal items, make sure none of your windows are blocked and that you have a clear view. Put away any distractions, too. For example, turn your phone off and store it where you won’t be tempted to take a look. Anything you need while driving—like your wallet for drive-throughs—should be within easy reach.
- Break up long trips. If you’re driving for longer than 30 minutes or so, break up your trip. Stop to stretch, use the washroom, drink some water, and relax. This can help you focus on driving when you are on the road.
- Check weather and driving conditions before you go. Before you hop in the car on the day of your trip, review the weather forecast and traffic reports. You don’t want to drive into roadwork or a traffic jam if you can help it.
- Focus on safety, not a timeline. Safety—of yourself and everyone sharing the road with you—is the most important this holiday season. Don’t take any risks when you’re traveling. If you need to, cancel your plans or be ready to be late rather than speeding or trying to drive when you’re not up to it. You can always see loved ones right after the holidays.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are being careful during the holidays. DUIs tend to spike upwards at this time of year and distracted and fatigued driving can all be a bigger risk during this season. If you are injured in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you can always call Flaxman Law Group at 866-352-9626 or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with an attorney. Our phone lines are open 24/7, even on holidays, so you can always reach a live person.