There is no doubt this time of year brings smiles and laughter to you and your family. However, we should stay on guard for ultimate safety during the holiday season.
Always stay in tune with your local news for the weather forecast. Severe weather tends to rise up all across the country causing flooding, damage to homes and electricity outages. Do you have an emergency kit in the house for these conditions? Do you have an evacuation plan? If you have a smart phone, there are plenty of apps like ones from AccuWeather and The American Red Cross that can alert you to dangerous conditions.
Be on the lookout for hazardous snow conditions. Be sure your tires are inflated properly and you have changed over to winter weather tires, or carry snow chains with you. Unfortunately, there are many inexperienced drivers in these conditions. Stopping distances increase in wintery conditions so it’s wise to keep a safe distance between the cars ahead of you and keep your full attention on the road. Keep your lights on so other drivers can see you more easily. You might even want to turn off the radio so you have no distractions.
With the holiday season there tends to be an increase in drunk driving. Even though it goes without saying, please don’t drink and drive. Many cities have plenty of taxi services and services like Uber and Lyft are expanding into more areas. Some companies provide free rides home from Holiday Parties – be sure to ask about this – or call a trusted friend to come get you if you are over the limit.
With lower prices at the pump, many more people will be hitting the roads over the river and through the woods. Keep your vehicle at a safe speed. You will only get to your destination a few minutes faster if you are speeding, but the risk for crashing is much higher and injury rates increase with high-speed crashes. When traveling with your children, always buckle them up and properly restrain them in an appropriate car seat or booster seat that is right for their height and weight. Be sure to take off their bulky winter jacket while they are in their harness, as this causes the harness not to fit properly. For more information on car seats and winter jackets, please read our previous post here, What’s The Fluffing Problem.
Did you know drowsy driving is no different than drunk driving? Studies have shown that you have the same lack of cognitive abilities when you are driving with droopy eyes. It’s hard to stay focused on the task of driving your vehicle when you’re really tired. If you are driving a long distance, get plenty of sleep before your drive. As boredom or tiredness sets in, get off the road and take a nap in a safe location or ask any of the other drivers in the vehicle to take a shift driving. That cup of java will only keep you awake so long.
Traveling to unfamiliar places is exciting, but getting there may be a little confusing. Plan your route before you get on the road. This way, you’ll be a little more familiar with where you are going and the drive will be a little less stressful. Yes, a GPS device will work great, but we have all been led astray at one time or another by our high tech gadgets. When exiting the interstate, head over to the exit lane with ample time so you are not making lane changes at the last minute. If you miss your exit, never back up. Go down to the next exit and get back on the interstate. Or, make a U-turn at an appropriate intersection.
Old man winter means shorter days. The sunsets are spectacular this time of year, but they are also blinding when they occur. Keep sunglasses in the car and do not look into the sun. Keep your eyes on the road ahead. The same holds true for headlights at night. If you look directly into them you can be blinded, plus you usually drive towards the thing you are looking at. Look far down the road ahead of you, not directly in front of your hood. This strategy will keep you pointed in the right direction and also alert you of any objects in the road or other hazards ahead of you.
Finally, school’s out for winter! This means children are outside playing more often. They might be darting around on their bikes, playing cops and robbers, sledding down the hill in front of the house or throwing snowballs across the road at each other. When driving into a neighborhood, drive the speed limit or slower and scan back and forth as you drive. Be sure your brakes are in good working condition because you never know when a child may run out in front of your car.
We want to wish everyone a wonderful, safe and delightful holiday season. Thank you for reading our blog throughout the year. We look forward to serving you in 2016!!