Safety Tips for Holiday Driving

Photo: Terraxplorer

Whether I'm staying near home for the holidays or driving to my destination, I notice that around this time of year drivers become harried and seemingly more careless. Of course, the wet and drizzly weather tends to assist those more apt to slip and slide across the lanes.

Being the safe driver that I am not only saves money in the form of lower insurance premiums and fewer repairs, it also means getting from point A to point B in one piece. Some of the safe driving tips I abide by aren't mind-altering; they're just common sense guidelines that everyone should follow. Here are a few:

1. Know the Roads

When driving to common destinations, I select the roads I'm most familiar with and are less congested. Choosing familiar routes means that if a sudden downpour hits, I'm not inaccurately predicting if the road veers to the right or left; I already know the path and can make minor adjustments without careening off a cliff. I also know when to choose the "back roads" and when to stay on the highway. I can slow down or speed up safely, if weather permits, since it's a path I've traveled many times.

When I'm visiting a new location, I first make sure to check Google Maps as well as take notes from the friends or family members I'll be visiting. Friends and family members can assist in my familiarity of an area by telling me to watch for specific landmarks. Landmarks help me adjust to a new area and make me feel less lost. I also make sure to drive a little slower, especially on windy mountain roads or in densely forested areas. I'm not timid when it comes to asking for directions; there is no need spending hours driving in circles if all it takes is a simple answer from a local gas station attendant to send me on my way.

2. Obey the Law

Rain, snow, and sleet make roads slippery and dangerous. Driving the speed limit, or slower, can make all the difference between getting someplace safely or ending up on the wrong side of the road. Checking the weather ahead of traveling gives me a reasonable idea of how much time I'll need to arrive safely; oncoming storms usually mean traffic delays, and that means longer commute times and lots of slowing down.

Another law I obey is the seat belt law. It's hard to believe that as a child I was allowed to roam freely around the station wagon on long road trips, even in stormy weather! Today we are a more safety-conscious society and know that unattached objects within a vehicle can go flying through a windshield in a sudden stop or impact. Being strapped in helps prevent injuries during accidents and makes traveling by car safer.

Finally, slower traffic should stay to the right; even if that means letting a big-rig truck pass me. There's just no need to get into a road-rage duel, and I'm not about to gun it past the semi that's ten times my size. Driving defensively and safely sometimes means being the slower moving vehicle.

3. Designate a Driver

The holidays are a time for celebration and that often means celebrating with delicious meals and effervescent spirits. There's no need not to partake in the celebration as long as I have a designated driver or have made other arrangements like public transportation or a taxi cab. However, I usually nominate myself to be the designated driver since sparkling cider is just as tasty as sparkling wine. I am also adamant about not drinking and driving, so selecting myself to be the driver for the night ensures that those who are with me arrive home safely.

Most safety tips are based around common sense, but sometimes we just need to pay more attention to the details to have a safe and joyous holiday season.

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Guest's picture

Great tips. We had a scary incident a few years ago on a cold November afternoon. We left in the morning for a place 60 miles away and the weather was good. The 25 year old Peugeot we was driving still had it's all weather tyres on but a massive snow storm hit and we ended up having to slide down a massive hill!

Always get your snow tires on early!