With the holiday season emerging, all drivers must exercise safe practices when getting behind the wheel. You can participate in keeping the streets safe by doing your part to be considerate in everything you do. Here are some tips for safely traveling this holiday season.
1. Always Appoint a Designated Driver
One of the best and most important tips you can use for the holidays is to assign a designated driver when you drink. Choose a good family member or friend who will take the wheel if you intend to have a few alcoholic holiday beverages.
Most states have pretty harsh DUI penalties, even if no one gets hurt because of it. In Pennsylvania, first-time offenders can go through the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, but similar programs aren’t available in all states.
That means you are looking at high fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspensions if you live elsewhere, and it isn’t worth the trouble. It’s best to set yourself up with a responsible person who can drive for you if necessary.
Even if you don’t drink, you’ll need to have another person you can alternate driving with. This method is useful for extremely long rides where you’re bound to get sleepy.
2. Check Your Tires Before Traveling
You should always inspect your vehicle before traveling long distances. You’ll need to pay the closest attention to your tires’ condition, including the air they hold. A tire pressure checker typically costs $5 to $15, and it only takes a few minutes to get a pressure reading.
Ensure the pressure in your tires meets the specifications on the placard inside your door jamb. Also, look for visual signs of tire issues, like bubbles, wires, and dry rot. Take care of such problems immediately if you notice them on your car.
You should also take them in for regular maintenance before going on a holiday trip. Oil changes, filter replacements, and tune-ups are services you should get for your car.
3. Avoid Tractor Trailers
You’ll almost always find yourself near a tractor-trailer on a major highway. It almost always happens, but you can still take steps to reduce the incidents of being behind one.
Changing lanes and passing can help prevent incidents of rocks and other objects hitting and damaging your windshield. Forbes says windshield damage makes up 30% of all insurance claims, so it happens frequently. However, you can reduce the likelihood of having a windshield incident if you try to avoid getting stuck behind large trucks.
4. Slow Down in Inclement Weather
Sometimes, the holidays bring rain, snow, and other inclement weather. You might still need to travel during one of these challenging situations. The best way to keep yourself and your passengers safe is to slow down when the weather is at its worst. Most drivers slow down at least 10 to 20 MPH when the rain is heavy enough to hinder their sight.
Ensuring that you have functional windshield wipers is another thing you should do to make sure your travels are safe. Have a mechanic check them the next time you have your oil changed to avoid getting stuck with defective ones when you need them the most.
5. Avoid Distractions
Finally, you should avoid all distractions while driving for the holidays. Distracted driving causes many accidents, and those accidents cause innocent people to get hurt. Wait until you are parked and out of traffic to check text messages, and use hands-free services to take phone calls if you must. Also, you should avoid turning your head to the car’s rear to converse with a passenger. It only takes a few seconds for an accident to happen because the driver isn’t paying attention, and you don’t want that to happen. Thus, you must stay well-rested and alert at all times.
Those are some ways you can help keep the roads safe during the most important days of the year. Implement each one of those driver safety tips as you drive to your destination to meet your family members.