The holiday season means more people venture out onto the road to spend time with their families. Although this is an exciting time of the year, it can also be dangerous. Between Thanksgiving and New Years’ is when you will likely encounter heavy traffic. Celebrations also give way to reckless drivers. Many people head home after a night of drinking at a bar or friend’s house. Others simply don’t pay attention to where they’re going.
You should have fun with your friends and family but also remain cautious, especially if you’re driving long distances for the holiday break. There are some precautions you can take to stay safe and avoid ending up in a car accident.
One of the most basic safety tips when traveling during the holidays is to prepare for everything. That means you should plan out the route you want to take and research the areas for rest stops, gas stations, and other necessities.
Inform your friend or family member of this route and let them know what time you’re planning to leave so they know when to expect you at their house. If you want to split a long trip over multiple days, book a hotel for each night and tell your host, so they know where to reach you.
You should also check the weather forecast, especially if you’re driving to a different state. Although fall doesn’t typically bring ice and snow, it could happen in some states. Create alternate routes just in case you encounter weather that’s too dangerous to drive through. You could also plan for stopping at specific locations if visibility is low or the roads become hazardous.
Inspect Your Vehicle
You should already be keeping your car maintained throughout the year. Oil changes, tire rotations, and other necessary tasks keep it running properly. If there’s damage, a recalled part, or another issue, the vehicle could malfunction and cause you to lose control.
Bring your car to the dealership or another establishment regularly for maintenance. If you know that you’re going to spend many long hours on the road, inspect everything before you leave. Check the tire pressure, fluid levels, and other systems. If you notice any problems, get them fixed immediately. You put yourself and other people at risk of serious harm if you drive your car when you know it’s not working normally.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Whether you’re driving to the next state or across the country, it’s an excellent idea to pack an emergency kit. This should include flashlights, jumper cables, warning devices, such as flares, warm blankets, bottled water, and other necessary items.
If you end up stranded on the side of the road in cold temperatures, you’ll need something to keep you warm. You also need to stay hydrated and nourished, especially if you’re on a deserted road without cell service and no one finds you for days.
Leave Your Home Early
Since you’ll probably encounter traffic, try to leave your house as early in the morning as possible. Avoiding peak travel times is key. Additionally, giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination is critical, whether you’re driving to the airport to catch your flight or to a family member’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, so you don’t feel like you’re in a rush. When someone is behind schedule, they’re more likely to speed and behave carelessly at the wheel, increasing the risk of an accident.
Avoid All Distractions
Taking a road trip with other people makes it challenging to avoid distractions. However, your safety depends on it. If you turn around to discipline your kids in the back seat or answer a text from your relative who is checking in on you, your eyes aren’t on the road ahead.
In the few seconds you’re looking away, another motorist could drift into your lane, or a pothole could suddenly appear in your path, but you won’t see it. Stay focused at all times, so you’re able to operate the vehicle safely and react appropriately during emergencies or dangerous conditions.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, our car accident attorneys have fought on behalf of our clients who were injured in accidents that weren’t their fault since 2013. We know what it takes to hold negligent people liable for the harm they cause and get accident victims the compensation they’re owed. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for your medical treatment and other expenses if you weren’t at fault for the crash.
If you sustained an injury in a car accident due to someone else’s careless misconduct, contact us right now at 512-580-8334. We can discuss the circumstances during a free consultation and advise you about your available legal options. When you hire us, we will remain by your side to seek the justice you deserve.