November 01, 2021
December is one of the busiest times of the year on the road. As increased numbers of people travel to spend time with their loved ones over the holidays, the higher levels of traffic lead to a greater risk of automobile accidents. The stress, damage, cost, and potential injury these incidents cause can certainly ruin the festive mood.
If you’re like most people, keeping yourself and your family safe during long-distance car trips over the holiday season is a top priority. Here are a few things you can keep in mind to make the roads safer for yourself and the drivers around you.
Practice Alertness While Driving
Focus is key when you are behind the wheel. There are plenty of factors that might detract from your ability to keep your mind on the road as you drive. These include:
- Distractions – Engaging with your cell phone or trying to operate the GPS while you are driving can put you and your passengers in danger. Ensure that you have set up everything you need before you drive so that you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Additionally, make sure that your passengers, including children, know that they should avoid any behavior that might take up too much of your attention.
- Drowsiness – Try to ensure you’ve gotten seven to eight hours of sleep the night before a long road trip. Plan frequent stops, and rotate drivers if possible, so that you can avoid drowsiness. If you start to feel tired, pull over. Arriving late is better than not arriving at all.
- Intoxication – Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is both dangerous and illegal. These substances can cause blurred vision, impaired judgment, and altered depth perception.
Double-Check Your Vehicle’s Maintenance
It can be easy to forget that the change in temperatures during the season can affect the way your vehicle operates. It’s important to check the pressure of your tires, especially before a long road trip. You can find the recommended psi (pounds per square inch) in the driver’s manual of your car or on a sticker inside the driver’s side door. Measure the air pressure in the tires with a pressure gauge so you can be sure that they are in line with the recommendations. If you know you are going to be driving in areas that have a potential for icy or snowy weather, it may be worth changing to tires that are specialized for the winter.
It’s also easy to overlook the importance of having fully-functional windshield wipers. If you have not replaced yours recently, now would be a good time to do so. Worn wipers have the potential to reduce your visibility and can make driving in wet weather much more dangerous. You’ll also want to be sure that your headlights are working fully, so check both your regular lights and your brights so you can be confident that your visibility won’t be impaired.
Be Extra-Careful During Darker Hours
Winter doesn’t only bring cold. It also brings shorter days and longer nights. This increases the likelihood that longer trips will occur during the nighttime hours, at least in part. Being aware of when the sun will set can help you to feel as prepared as possible.
If you’ve noticed that you have significant trouble driving in the dark, it may be worth seeing an eye doctor about it. They can prescribe lenses that help to make it easier for you to see at night. In the alternative, plan your drive for earlier in the day or break it up into two days.
Pay Attention to the Weather Report
Even for seasoned drivers, one of the greatest dangers in the winter months is the possibility of hazardous weather events, such as sleet, freezing rain, and snow. Keep yourself abreast of the potential for particularly tricky weather patterns, such as blizzards, to reduce your chances of running into trouble. When temperatures are below freezing, it’s also especially important to be aware of the possibility of black ice.
Watch Out for Wildlife
Winter is a time of migration for many animals. For others, it’s mating season. As a result, they’re more active than usual. If you’re not paying close attention, their presence on the road can lead to accidents. Larger animals such as deer can cause a lot of damage, especially at high speeds. But even smaller ones like rabbits can shock drivers enough to throw them off course. Be aware that something could jump out in front of your vehicle, so give yourself enough time to react.
Need Help? Call Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers Today
Practicing these habits is among the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others safe this holiday season. If you were involved in a road accident that wasn’t your fault, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Custy Law Firm | Accident & Injury Lawyers. We can guide you through the steps you need to take so you can get the compensation you deserve. Call (219) 286-7361 today for a consultation.