The holidays are largely about connecting with loved ones. People may drive to their parents’ homes to get together with their siblings, nieces and nephews or may even do a tour of homes, visiting each relative in succession to exchange gifts or socialize.
Many people spend hours in their vehicles on or close to major holidays so that they can enjoy the season with their loved ones. Unfortunately, the influx of holiday travelers is one of the reasons like crash rates go up around Thanksgiving and Christmas. The three tips below can help people reduce their risk during those peak traveling times.
Check your vehicle before hitting the road
People often take for granted that their vehicles will perform safely, but many crashes occur due to issues with vehicles. Failing brakes, balding tires and weak windshield wipers are all examples of vehicle issues that can increase someone’s chances of a collision. Making it a point to go see a mechanic at least a week or two before holiday travels will ensure that there won’t be any surprise mechanical issues contributing toward collision risk on a holiday road trip.
Avoid intoxication and fatigue
The holidays often force people to cut down on their rest. They stay up all night baking or wrapping presents and then drive the next day. Fatigue affects the body much like alcohol and will make it harder for someone to focus, react quickly and make the smartest decision possible. Combine that with alcohol consumption, and that is a recipe for disaster. Far too many people think that it is safe to drive home after enjoying a few beers or glasses of eggnog with the family despite knowing that chemical intoxication is a serious safety concern. A combination of fatigue and alcohol is particularly dangerous for those heading home after holiday celebrations.
Avoid same-day driving when possible
The pressure to get home after a holiday celebration can lead to people doing something unsafe, like driving when they feel absolutely exhausted or speeding. There will be many other people also making compromised decisions based on expediency and tradition. Whenever possible, arranging to stay with family or at a nearby hotel the night before or after the holiday may be the safest bet. People can thereby avoid being on the road during what is statistically one of the most dangerous times to drive.
Recognizing the holidays as a high-risk time to drive may help people make safer choices and better ensure that the holidays are a time of celebration, rather than an anniversary of an unfortunate incident.