Over the Thanksgiving holiday, an estimated 46.9 million people made travel plans to visit family or friends – all of them going 50 miles or more away from home. That’s the largest number of travelers since 2007, and 89 percent were driving to their destination, according to AAA. More people on the roads mean more accidents, even with a reduction in the number of alcohol-related crashes. For the first time since 2011, drunk driving fatalities dropped below 10,000, but that only accounts for 30.8 percent. The two other largest contributors are speeding and distracted driving. To make sure you enjoy the holidays, be sure to practice good holiday driving habits.
Get Your Rest
Always get a good night’s sleep before a road trip. When you are rested, you have better reactions times and are more aware of other cars. During the trip, take frequent breaks. Try not to drive for more than two hours consecutively. A small break to stretch your legs, grab something to drink or just rest your eyes can make a big difference during an emergency.
Keep Your Speed Under Control
Sitting in traffic or dealing with congested roadways might make you feel impatient, but always obey the posted speed limit. Traffic can back up and leave you moving at below the limit. Try to stay calm when slow-downs happen. Drive defensively and avoid aggressive drivers. Driving aggressively likely won’t help you arrive any faster, and it is certainly more likely to cause an accident.
Prepare an Emergency Kit for the Car
Sitting in traffic is stressful enough, without the added fear of being stranded outside in the cold. Make sure you have emergency supplies in the car, just in case. A blanket, flashlight, gloves and some sand are all good items to stock. You might also want to load up a few bottles of water and car-friendly snacks. Remember to keep your gas tank half full, so pull over regularly to fill up. A low tank can allow your fuel lines to freeze in colder climates.
Relax and Have Fun!
Driving in heavy traffic can be stressful, but try to stay relaxed. The more frustrated you become, the more likely you are to make poor driving decisions. When frustration starts to get the better of you, pull over. A brief stop and some deep breaths can help you get back on the road.
The holidays are fun, but holiday travel may not be. By planning ahead you can minimize your risk of an accident. Remember, no texting, calling or drinking if you have to drive. If you are in an accident and you need to seek legal representation, call on the team at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez at 702-388-4476 for help this holiday season.