The holiday season is upon us, which means sitting for prolonged periods in the car. Whether it is traveling to visit loved ones or attend a festive event, safety behind the wheel should be a priority. During the holiday season, adverse weather conditions, heightened traffic, and various distractions can call for challenges on the road. Holiday events and celebrations should be a joyous time for friends and family, but these celebrations can quickly turn into a tragic event if we are not being mindful. AAA predicts there will be 55.4 million people traveling (including more than 49 million Americans driving) between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (November 23) and the Sunday after the holiday — making this the third-busiest Thanksgiving travel period in more than two decades. This season lets us make a commitment to road safety, the wellbeing of ourselves, our passengers, our hard-working road crews and fellow motorists.
Here are simple ways you can stay safe on the roads this holiday season:
- Do not drink and drive. Do not drive when you are impaired, and do not allow your family members or friends to drive while impaired either. Designate a sober driver, call a taxi, or use a ride share service to protect yourself and others on the road.
- Inspect your vehicle. Take the time to ensure all of your lights are working and all fluid levels are normal. Check your tires, tire pressure, headlights, taillights, brake lights, and tag lights.
- Map out the route. Plan your route ahead of time and be aware of how projected weather conditions may affect your travels.
- Click it or ticket! Ensure you and your passengers are properly restrained in seat belts and car safety seats.
- Avoid fatigue. Ensure you receive a good night’s rest before driving, take breaks. If you begin to feel tired, share the driving or pull off the road to a rest area.
- Have an emergency plan. It is important to have a cell phone and charger with you in case of emergency situations. Keep emergency roadside assistance information on hand.
- Do not text and drive. Keeping your full attention on the road is important to ensure your and other motorists’ safety. If you need to use your cellphone, utilize a hands-free device.
- Keep a safe driving distance. A safe driving distance allows for ample time to react to traffic around you. If someone is tailgating you, allow them to pass and do not try to compete with impatient, aggressive drivers.
- Watch your speed. Do not go over the speed limit (especially in work zones) and give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your location.
- Remain calm. If you begin to feel stressed or irritable, take deep breaths and maintain your patience. If you drive with road rage, it compromises the safety of yourself and fellow drivers.
Happy holidays, and safe travels from the AMI team!