Stay Safe and Warm: Holiday Travel Tips
Did you travel for the Thanksgiving holiday this year? Chances are, many of you did. According to AAA Travel, 46.9 million Americans made a 50 mile (or more) journey to visit family and friends during the recent holiday. Lower gas prices and rising disposable income are part of the reason for this increase in holiday travel, and upcoming winter holidays like Christmas will probably see large numbers of people venturing out to see family as well.
No matter your reason(s) for travel, it’s important to make sure you’re driving safely. December can bring, on rare occasions, snow to our neck of the woods here in Texas. Though snow isn’t common, our weather does have a tendency to change quickly and vary greatly. As the saying goes: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.” Less extreme but more common weather such as heavy rainfall and fog can impair drivers’ ability to see the road clearly, and if you are venturing out to another state, you should be prepared to deal with whatever weather is typical for the area, especially snow and ice.
Weather, higher traffic on the roads during holidays, and more can affect the safety of you and your loved ones during the holiday season. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe while traveling.
Tune Up before You Take Off
Before you even start your trip, make sure your vehicle is ready for travel – especially if you’re planning on traveling a long distance. Check your tires, windshield wipers, fluid levels, and brakes in particular. Pack an emergency kit for your car and your passengers; don’t forget a first aid kit and blankets. Be prepared for the potential weather you might encounter as you drive, and make sure your car can handle winter driving conditions, whatever they may be.
It goes without saying that you should always wear your seatbelt. So buckle up properly, and make sure little ones are in age-appropriate restraining devices. If you are unsure of how to install a booster seat or car seat correctly, your local fire department will often be available to help make sure everything is as it should be.
Rest and Drive Refreshed
Holidays can be hectic, to say the least. With shopping for gifts, organizing trips, cooking food, and keeping up with the holiday rush, it’s no wonder that many people feel exhausted as soon as the festivities are over. So give yourself a break if you are planning on driving long distances! Sleep well the night before you travel, and don’t push yourself to get to your destination quickly. Plan in time for breaks on the road as well as time to eat and regain energy. If you get tired, don’t keep driving. Find a rest area and take a break. Find a hotel or motel if a break at the rest stop doesn’t cut it. Keep in mind that 2.6% of all fatalities in 2014 involved drowsy drivers. Don’t add to that statistic for this year.
You can put the cell phone away on your trip. Holiday texts of goodwill to co-workers and family can wait until you’re stopped and safe. And using your phone to take advantage of that online-only holiday sale on the big-screen TV you want isn’t worth an accident while driving. The holidays are distracting enough outside of a vehicle. Use your travel time as an opportunity to take a break from the rush and focus on the road. The risk to you and other drivers just isn’t worth it.
Imbibe Safely: Holiday Cheer and Drinking
Holiday time can often mean a plethora of goodies, including alcoholic ones. If you choose to indulge, make sure you have a designated driver for the trip back home. Don’t risk the safety of yourself, your passengers, and other drivers for a few cocktails.
Our staff here at Hossley & Embry hope you have a fantastic and safe holiday season! Should the worst happen and you are involved in a car accident while traveling, be sure to call our offices at (866) 522-9265 so we can set up a free consultation with you to provide expert legal advice about your best course of action. Again, be safe and happy holidays!
Shapiro, A. (2015, November 17). 46.9 million Americans to travel for Thanksgiving, according to AAA. AAA Newsroom. Retrieved from http://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/holiday-travel-forecast/
Travel safety facts. (2015, November). United States Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812219.pdf