Driving Safe During the 2019 Holiday Season
As the year comes to a close, long breaks from school and extra days off work tempt many people to hit the road to visit family and friends. In fact, it is estimated that just during the Thanksgiving weekend alone, over 48 million people in the United States will drive to a holiday destination.
But, before you don your favorite winter sweater and load up on snacks for the roadway, here is a timely question to ask: Is driving during the holiday season any different than driving at other times of the year?
With crowded roadways, unpredictable weather, and frantic people rushing to shop or get to a party, it’s not surprising that there are more vehicle crashes during the holidays than at any other time of year.
How can you keep yourself and your family safe during the holiday season?
During the festive winter season, people tend to indulge a bit more during family gatherings or at office parties. If you decide to include alcohol in your parties, arrange to have a designated driver take you home or call a taxi. Don’t mix alcohol with driving.
If you’ll be leaving on a long road trip, recognize the warning signs of fatigue. You may start yawning, your eyes may get heavy, and you may find it difficult to concentrate on the road. The same signs may appear if a party ends in the wee hours of the morning and you are trying to drive home. Regardless of how far you are going, fatigued driving is extremely dangerous!
One way to battle road fatigue is to get enough rest before you depart. But what if you’re already on the road and begin to feel sleepy? If you’re traveling with someone else who can drive, let them take the wheel for a while. If not, take short naps at a safe rest stop every two hours. Those quick breaks take less time than dealing with the consequences of a crash!
During the holiday season, people often embark on long trips through unfamiliar territory. These new areas—while part of the adventure—can also be distracting, tiring, and stressful for those trying to navigate.
When drivers are on unfamiliar roads, watching for exits or struggling with unexpected conditions due to changing weather, they may not be concentrating on other vehicles. Likewise, if an excited shopper is trying to zip over to the next shopping mall to get that one last gift or item for dinner, they might not have their eyes on the road.
What can you do?
– Plan your route ahead of time.
– Be aware of changing weather conditions.
– Turn the phone off or let someone else handle the messages—and the GPS
– Take your time, so that you’re not impatient or distracted.
– Keep your distance from other vehicles that might stop or change lanes unexpectedly.