If you are planning on hitting the roads this holiday season, you will not be alone. November and December are the two busiest travel months, with millions of Americans taking to the highways to visit relatives and friends. One of the downsides of this trend is that holiday driving can be far more dangerous than at other times of the year. If you are aware of the top driving dangers over the holiday season, you can remain safe during your Christmas trips – and avoid having to ring in the New Year with an insurance claim.
Although there are drunk drivers on the road at all times of the year, the holiday season brings out an influx of drivers who imbibe then drive. Drunk drivers can create hazardous conditions on the road and cause accidents, some fatal. Beware of drunk drivers by keeping alert and focused on the roads. Drunk drivers often drive drastically above or below the speed limit and may swerve or drift into other lanes. If you spot a drunk driver, alert the police immediately and stay out of their way to avoid getting injured.
In many parts of the country, snow and ice covered roads are the norm around the holiday season. These slick roads can cause your car to spin out and collide with other cars. Check the weather forecast frequently before venturing out in bad weather and avoid unpaved roads. Make sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage that will protect you in case of an accident. Avoid night driving when it may be difficult to see icy roads. Plan your route in advance and map out alternate routes in case your roads are not passable. Leave enough time so that you are not rushing to get to your destination. Inclement weather accounts for over half of fatal traffic accidents around the holidays so take extra precaution to avoid getting into a weather-related accident.
Have your car fully inspected before driving during the holidays to make sure it is in good mechanical order. Check the windshield wipers, tires, headlights and fluids before embarking on a long road trip. Make sure your auto insurance policy is up to date and carry copies of your insurance information with you in the car.
Tired and Distracted Drivers
Tired drivers can be more dangerous than drunk drivers when they are behind the wheel. In the United States alone, over 150,000 fatal accidents are caused by drivers who fall asleep while driving. Many people do not realize how tired they are and how drowsiness impairs their driving. Take frequent breaks when driving and switch drivers if you start to feel fatigued. Avoid driving during night hours when tired drivers are most likely to be on the road.
Distracted drivers who are sending and receiving text messages, interacting with passengers in the car, chatting on the cell phone or engaging in other distractions can cause devastating accidents. These drivers are often in a position where they can not react quickly to traffic changes and can cause serious injury or even death to themselves and others. Keep your eyes open for drivers that seem to be distracted and get out of their way. If you see a driver texting while driving, alert the police.
When driving, use and hands free device if you must make and receive calls. There are also devices that let you broadcast your cell phone calls through the car’s radio so you don’t have to worry about using your cell phone at all while driving. If you must send and read text messages, pull to the side of the road to avoid distracted driving.
Even though we don’t immediately think of uninsured drivers when we think of holiday dangers, they too pose a great threat to public safety. Statistically speaking, the more drivers are on the road, the more chance that some of them will not be carrying adequate insurance on their vehicles. Uninsured drivers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your car and to your person. They are especially dangerous during the holiday season when poor weather, increased use of alcohol and heavy traffic can create particularly nasty accidents. Make sure your auto insurance policy protects you from uninsured motorists and the mayhem they can cause.
The holiday season can be a great time of joy, friends and family. It can also be a dangerous time to be a driver. Drunk drivers, reckless drivers and inclement weather make holiday driving especially dangerous. Take precautions to avoid the top driving dangers over the holiday season.