Holiday Road Trip Safety Tips
There’s no place like home for the holidays and for millions of people in the United States, that means having to take a road trip so they can spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with their loved ones. For Thanksgiving 2018, AAA estimated that 48.5 million people would be driving at least 50 miles to their destination between Wednesday and Sunday on Thanksgiving week, an increase of about 5% from 2017. In 2017, over 107 million people traveled for the Christmas holiday and about 90% of them were traveling by car.
With all those people hitting the road around the holidays, the potential for car accidents inevitably goes up. If you’ll be taking a road trip this holiday season, here are a few tips to help you make your trip a safe one.
Check the Weather
In a state like Michigan, the weather in November and December can be very unpredictable. In some years, it’s been rainy or snowy and in other years, it’s been surprisingly warm. Before you head out, make sure you’ve checked the weather forecast for any areas you’ll be traveling to or through. The last thing you want is to unexpectedly end up being stuck driving in hazardous conditions. If there’s a chance you might encounter some inclement weather, adjust your departure times or plan ahead for a safe place to stop while you wait for a break in the weather.
Get Lots of Rest
Before you start heading toward your destination, make sure you’re able to get plenty of rest first. Driving takes a lot of concentration and if you’re not well rested, focusing on the road can be difficult. Being tired slows down your reaction times, impairs your ability to make good decisions, and if you fall asleep at the wheel, the results can be deadly. In 2013, the NHTSA estimated that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 car accidents, 44,000 injuries, and 800 deaths and those numbers might actually be a little low since drowsy driving isn’t something you can test for.
Distracted driving is never a good thing, so make sure you won’t have anything to take your mind off the road. Make sure your GPS system is programmed and that everything is secured in the vehicle before you even pull out of the driveway. If you think you’ll need to check your phone for anything, give your phone to one of your passengers to keep an eye on it for you. If you get hungry along the way, make a point to stop to have a snack. Many people think the term “distracted driving” only applies to using their phone while driving, but it also applies to anything that takes your mind off the road like eating while driving.
Don’t Drink and Drive
The increased number of drivers on the road isn’t the only factor that can increase the risk of car accidents during the holidays. Lots of people are out at parties celebrating the season and unfortunately, far too many of them don’t plan ahead for a way to get home safely. If you’ll be driving after a celebration, make sure you have a designated driver, call a taxi, or use a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft to get home.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to buckle up, keep an eye on your speed, and watch out for other drivers. If you’re injured in a car accident this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer for help. Over the years, the lawyers at Goodwin & Scieszka have worked with numerous car accident victims to help them get the compensation they need. Contact us to see how we can help you.