Tis the Season: Holiday Travel Safety Tips
By: Good2GoPublished: November 24, 2014
The holidays are here and if you plan on traveling to a loved one’s party or get-together, brace yourself because millions of other drivers will be doing the exact same thing. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest travel periods of the year which means the roads will be packed and tensions will be high this holiday season.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an estimated 91% of long-distance holiday travel is done by a personal vehicle. While some drivers assume that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be the most heavily traveled day of the year, Thanksgiving Day takes the prize. The average length of a Thanksgiving car trip lasts 214 miles, compared to 275 miles during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.
During your holiday travels, be sure to use these safety tips for a stress-free road ahead.
Holiday Driving Safety Tips
Before you pack up the whole family in the minivan to go to Grandma’s house, do your research. That means listening to weather reports, checking road and traffic conditions, rerouting for possible detours and locating gas stations and rest stops along the way.
You may also want to consider hitting the road during non-peak hours to beat the rush. Use these tips to help you avoid traffic jams. You should also factor in additional travel time if you’ll be driving through inclement weather and storms.
After you’ve done your research, you’re still not ready to hit the road. Make sure your vehicle is running in tip-top shape. Check the air pressure in your tires, see if your oil needs changing, top off the coolant and check to see if the heating system is working properly. If your maintenance is not up to date, have your car inspected by a professional before you take a long drive.
Buckle up for safety
This tip can’t be stressed enough. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2.2 million drivers and passengers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2012. In addition, car crashes are the leading cause of death amongst teenagers. Wearing your seatbelt can reduce your risk of serious injury by half.
As a driver, buckling your seatbelt when you enter a vehicle should be an automatic reflex. During the holidays the roads can get icy from snow and rain, which is all the more reason you and your family should wear your seatbelts. If you’re traveling with smaller passengers, make sure they are properly restrained in the appropriate car safety seats.
Traveling hundreds of miles can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. If you feel yourself getting sleepy or if your eyelids are getting heavy when you’re behind the wheel, pull over. Drowsy driving can be very dangerous, especially if you are transporting precious cargo. To keep yourself awake and alert on those long holiday trips, read this article to learn how you can prevent drowsy driving.
Follow the speed limit
During the holidays you may feel compelled to tap into your inner speed demon and rush to get to your destination. Word to the wise: Don’t! No matter what, always follow the speed limit. The one exception is during bad weather which is when you should drive under the speed limit instead of over.
If you approach construction zones, remember to slow down and pay attention to flaggers and warning signs. Speeding in these areas could result in a ticket.
Avoid road rage
As was mentioned earlier, tensions can get high on the roads during the holiday season. Between traffic jams, bad weather and the actions of other drivers, it’s easy to succumb to road rage. To protect your car and your family, it’s important to keep a cool head during this stressful time.
If you find yourself yelling at other cars or driving erratically to catch up to the car that cut you off, take a deep breath and consider the risk of driving while angry. To lower your chance of road rage, get a good night’s sleep the night before your trip, eat breakfast the morning of, and turn on some soothing tunes in the car for a relaxing drive.
Don’t drink and drive
Drinking and driving is never a good idea, even during the holidays where egg nog and other spiked drinks are in abundance. If the party you are attending is serving alcohol, assign a designated driver or don’t drink at all.
Choosing to drink and drive could cost you your license, expensive fines and increased insurance premiums. It could also cost you your life and the lives of others. Use these tips to learn how you can avoid a DUI/DWI.
Don’t text and drive
Texting and driving is a dangerous combination – much like drinking and driving. While teen drivers are most likely to text and drive, adults are just as guilty of the bad habit. If you need to take a phone call or get in touch with relatives while en route, pull over to a safe spot on the side of the road and use your phone.
If you choose to text and drive, you could be pulled over and receive a citation. Even if it isn’t illegal to text and drive in your state, if you’re traveling across state lines, it may be illegal in the next state. Don’t risk it.
Prepare for the least expected
Anything can happen on the road which is why it’s important to have roadside assistance. Some modern vehicles are equipped with systems that contact roadside assistance such as On-Star. AAA and other car emergency companies offer mobile apps that allow drivers to request help without making a phone call.
With a little preparation and common sense, you can leave for your holiday road trip safe and stress-free.
Good2Go wants you to drive safe – and affordably. Find out how you can protect yourself with Good2Go.com auto insurance. Get a car insurance quote today.
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