The holidays count among some of the most dangerous driving days of the year. Mixing late night celebrations and bad weather puts all drivers at risk. Driving defensively, planning ahead and obtaining the cheapest car insurance that still keeps you confident throughout the winter season will get you through it safe and secure.
Most motor vehicle crashes that involve death or injury can be prevented. But, according to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-54 years old. And, despite fewer people on the road during the time of the pandemic, driving-related deaths increased.
It’s also important to note that while there are basic driving safety tips to be followed, there are different tips for all types of drivers and passengers. These include child passengers, teen drivers and older adult drivers.
Number One Rule: Do Not Drink & Drive
Alcohol-impaired driving contributes to over 10,000 motor vehicle crash deaths every year. That number might seem like a lot but to really imagine it, visualize a stadium filled with people. A venue this size is often used for concerts or major sporting events. That’s a lot of people killed every year by drinking and driving. The holidays pose a huge threat as they are when most DUI arrests take place.
Plan ahead of time if you want to drink at your celebration, it’s easier than ever before to get a ride there and home using Uber, Lyft, a taxi cab, a DD friend or to plan to spend the night where you are.
The holidays are a time of joy and good cheer, and that feeling can create a false sense of safety when driving. Remember, all of the distractions that need to be avoided the rest of the year are especially important now during the winter season and over the holidays.
- Don’t use your cell phone to text, call, email or check social media. Put it away and don’t use it at all unless you pull over safely. One text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds and during that time your car can travel the length of an entire football field.
- Grabbing a bite to go might seem reasonable and the only solution to hunger while holiday shopping but do yourself a favor and eat at the restaurant or pull over safely to eat.
- Keep kids quiet. There’s a lot of excitement around the holidays, but talk with your kids about being quiet in the car so you can concentrate. If they are too little to follow through, give them something to do while you’re driving to safely distract them.
The facts are that there is a lot crammed into a short period of time, and all of the major holidays land when winter is settling in. Over 1,300 people die every year due to crashes on snowy, slushy or icy roads. Combine these conditions with regular holiday hazards (like distracted drivers) and you’ve got a deadly concoction.
- Slow down. The best rule of thumb in dicey weather is to slow down. The faster you go the more likely you are to lose control of the vehicle and not be able to correct it. Skids and accidents can be greatly decreased when drivers slow down.
- Leave plenty of space. You don’t know from one moment to the next if there is ice under your tires, until it is too late. Practice leaving plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you so if you need to stop, you’ll have a lot of room to safely do it.
- Buckle up. It’s the law in most every state to wear your seatbelt. It’s been proven to save lives and in dangerous weather conditions safety belts are paramount.
- Pull over if necessary. If you’re feeling drowsy or don’t feel confident that you can traverse the snowy roads, pull off at the next exit to find a parking lot or safe place to take a rest. Be certain that you aren’t pulling over into a snow bank or where other cars will follow you.
Be Aware of Newbies & Out of Towners
Chances are good that there are some drivers who are unfamiliar with the roadways in your area this holiday season. Whether they are new drivers or visiting from out of town, you’re likely to run into some people who make abrupt changes in lanes to get off at an exit, back up, slow down quickly and make other sudden movements. Be aware of this possibility and arm yourself with patience and tolerance.