Heavy holiday traffic will create hazards on the roads.
It’s that time of year again! If you haven’t traveled home already, you will likely hit the road in the next few days. Like millions of other Americans, you may be driving a long distance to visit family, or even just down the street to get to wherever home is for you.
Regardless of how far your journey is, know that this time of year is busy, and things like holiday traffic, extended travel times and weather-related road conditions may cause more hazards on the roads. In addition, instances of drunk or impaired driving are typically increased during the holidays. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 837 people died in traffic crashes involving a drunk driver in December 2019.
So, before you head home for the holidays, make sure you also stay aware of your surroundings and drive safely.
Tips before you hit the road to head home for the holidays:
These tips can help Americans reach their destinations safely.
- Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. It’s imperative to get your car ready to drive, especially if you’re driving long distances. Check the oil, lights, wipers and tires – it may be a good idea to get your car serviced by your dealer before you head out. Also, make sure you have everything you need in your vehicle before you depart. For example, you should have a phone charger, plenty of extra food and water, a flashlight, ice scrapers, jumper cables and a first aid kit. Anything can happen on the road, and you don’t want to be without the right tools in case of an emergency.
- Get a good night’s sleep before you drive. On long drives, it’s easy to lose focus, get distracted and even get a little sleepy. It’s imperative to make sure you stay awake, alert and focused on the road ahead. So get a good night’s sleep the night before, and make sure to grab some coffee when needed. If you feel exhausted, it’s best to pull over and rest, or even check into a hotel for the night. Don’t push yourself too hard; it’s not worth the dangers of falling asleep at the wheel.
- Buckle up! Putting on your seatbelt seems like a no-brainer, but plenty of people still neglect buckling in and find themselves in perilous situations because of it. So, make sure you wear your seatbelt at all times. That goes for all passengers in the vehicle.
- Fill up your gas every half tank. You may be thinking that filling up every time your tank if half full is a little overkill, but experts say it’s the best thing to do on long drives to prevent getting yourself in a low-fuel situation. Especially if you’re driving in severe weather conditions, you do not want to be stranded somewhere with no gas. It’s extremely dangerous, stressful and time-consuming. So please make sure you refill!
- Be aware of weather conditions and avoid them when possible. Check the weather on your route before you head out so you can avoid any unsafe conditions if possible! Also, make sure you’re packing accordingly and adjusting your journey as needed. For example, if you have a snowstorm ahead, make sure you stop and get gas and anything else you need before you hit the bad weather. Pack plenty of hand warmers, blankets and ice scrapers too!
- Bring a buddy. If you can, it’s always best to have a traveling partner rather than going solo. This way, you can tag-team the journey by switching off drivers every few hours and holding each other accountable for staying awake and alert.
- Avoid distractions. Unfortunately, people die every day from a texting and driving accident. Taking your eyes off the road for even a matter of seconds can lead to a bad accident. Make sure you put your phone away or use it only for navigation. Always keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.
- Never drive impaired. If you’re going to holiday parties and plan on drinking alcohol, make sure you have a plan to get there and get home safely. Either have a friend or family member pick you up or call a ride share service. Please don’t risk your life, or the lives of others, by getting behind the wheel impaired.
Contact your provider lawyer for help with any traffic-related legal issues.
Regardless of where you’re going and how long your journey is, make sure you take legal protection with you this season. If you do encounter legal problems on the road, your provider lawyer can help you navigate traffic tickets and accidents and give you the consultation you need.
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