As we get into the holiday season, it’s a good time to think of some relaxing times spent at home with loved ones. Having a nice meal, meeting new spouses and grandchildren, or just coming together finally after a long time apart- it is a period of joy and togetherness.
For these reasons and more, it is of the utmost importance to watch yourself on the road. There are a lot of extra drivers out there on the freeway systems and in the local streets as well. Over three hundred people are estimated to die on the roads every year around December 25th. And driving by car is the most fatal way to travel by far, especially at this time of year.
Maintaining the safety of your loved ones, however, is just a matter of following some guidelines and keeping your wits about you.
- Know your route
It is important to have a map and directions handy in case your GPS lets you down. Being lost or confused on the road is a sure way to increase your chances of risky or insecure driving. You don’t want to be driving hesitantly when the road is full of other drivers that may be lost as well.
- Check the weather conditions
Look out for storms, flooding, blizzards, and more. Don’t be afraid to change your route, delay your start or even cancel your trip in the face of a major weather event. No one wants to miss a celebration, but sometimes it is worth it to learn to stay home.
- Avoid driver distraction
A lot of holiday rides feature cars packed with cousins, grandparents, and even the family pets. It is very important to make sure to respect your car or van’s guidelines for the number of passengers who can safely travel within it. It is also essential that the drive be calm and quiet for the focus of the driver.
- Keep survival gear
First-Aid kits, sub-zero-proof sleeping bags, emergency rations, and roadside flares can make all the difference in the world if you find yourself stranded. This is especially true in winter conditions. Even a couple of hours in a cold car can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and other serious medical issues. Having a charged cell phone is a smart way to be prepared, but the flares and survival equipment will come in handy if you are somewhere without cell phone service.
- Be smart after an accident
If the worst does happen and you do find yourself in an accident, make sure to follow the expected protocol: call the police, take pictures and witness information and get in touch with a qualified, local attorney. Stay calm and don’t let yourself get overwhelmed. Most localities that expect snowfall every year are well prepared to rescue stranded drivers and deal with snowy crashes.
All these things considered, though, you should not face the holiday season with fear. But it is important to be as safe as possible. Everyone is headed to an important destination, and it is the responsibility of every driver, and passenger, to get there without danger.