Are you going to be one of the almost 100,000 million people who drive 50 miles or more during the week of Christmas? Or do you have a loved one who will be? If so, please read this article. It could help prevent an accident during the peak of our busiest driving season (Oct. – Dec.).
Usually the day before Christmas Eve (Dec. 23rd) and the Sunday after (Dec. 29th this year) are the most dangerous days to travel. Basically, if you don’t have to be on the road at that time, don’t. But if you have to, we recommend driving the weekend before Dec. 23rd or before 11 am on Sunday, Dec. 29th. The absolute worst time to travel is between 2-6 pm on Dec. 29th so avoid that if at all possible.
What can you do to stay safe while on the road? Here are our top 7 tips:
- Before driving a car, do a simple safety check. Check your lights (especially brake lights and turning signal lights). Look for any fuel leaks. Check the tires and be sure they are properly inflated. The correct tire pressure can be found on the inside door frame of the drivers side.
- Always drive with your headlights on, a car is visible for nearly four times the distance with its headlights on.
- When stopping at a stop sign, spell S-T-O-P to yourself before proceeding. Always turn your head to look left, then right, straight ahead, then left again before proceeding.
- When your intersection light turns green, look left, then right, straight ahead, then left again before proceeding through the light. Make sure someone isn’t running a red light!
- Keep a safe distance. That means you need to keep at least a 4 second space between you and the car in front of you. You can determine if you are doing this by watching the car in front pass by a stationary object and then slowly counting to 4. If you get to the object sooner, expand your distance. Adjust as needed. Never try to hurry someone along by riding their bumper! When traveling at night or inclement weather, these times should be doubled.
- Minimize the use of hands-free cell phone use. NEVER hold a cell phone, have a conversation and drive. It’s a dangerous mix of multi tasking that can have disastrous results. A best practice is to get off the road and make your call. If you must call someone try to make it short and sweet to keep your focus where it belongs, on the road.
- Leave ahead of schedule. This requires planning ahead and not procrastinating on packing the car and doing your last minute to do’s. If for some reason that doesn’t happen, it’s ok. It’s better to arrive late than not at all.