The holidays are a time of fun and family, but it is also a dangerous time of year to drive. There are unique dangers that are on the roads during the holidays. Whether you are a new driver who just got their license or a driver who has navigated the roads for years, it is important to know the risks. Here are the top four risks, in no particular order, and how to navigate them safely.
- Increased Traffic. During the holiday season, more drivers are on the road. From holiday shoppers to those taking road trips to visit family, there are more reasons to be on the road during this time of year. When there is heavier traffic, drivers become impatient and do risky maneuvers. To navigate the roads safely, plan extra time to get to your destination and stay calm behind the wheel. Remember that getting there safely is the most important goal.
- Bad Weather. Most of the United States deals with bad weather during the winter. Combine that with less daylight hours and the roads can become hazardous. Staying safe during the winter is best done by planning your schedule around storms. If the roads are slippery, you get caught in a storm, or there are any conditions that lead to reduced visibility, slow down.
- Drunk Drivers. With so many holiday parties comes an increase in drunk drivers on the road. Make sure you are always using defensive driving techniques like watching other drivers on the road, leaving extra space around your vehicle from other cars, and keep an escape plan in your mind. Be extra mindful of drunk drivers as the night goes on. Equally important is making sure that you are not driving drunk. If you are going to a party and plan to drink, arrange ahead of time to have a ride home with a designated driver or ride service. Never try to convince yourself that you are okay to drive.
- Distracted Drivers. Since the holidays are generally a busy time of year for people, they have a lot on their minds and to-do lists. For many drivers, it means trying to multi-task or feeling extra stress and driving distracted. The best ways to stay safe around distracted drivers is to use those defensive driving techniques mentioned before. Avoid being a distracted driver by putting away your phone, not multi-tasking while driving, and just focusing on the road. Pull off the road and out of traffic if you need to do anything other than drive.
For a safer experience on the road, always stay focused on driving. With so much going on during the holidays, it is important that everyone does their part to keep the roads safe. If you can avoid the most common risks on the road, your holidays can be safe and enjoyable, however you spend them.