Unfortunately, the holiday season represents the most dangerous time of the year out on the road. When driving during the holidays, here are some tips to help keep yourself, your passengers, and others on the road safe.
General Safety Tips
General tips for all drivers to keep in mind include:
- Never drive after consuming alcohol or drugs, and do not allow others to drive while intoxicated or get into a vehicle with an intoxicated driver. If you do plan to drink at a holiday party or dinner, remember to have a designated driver, take public transit, or call a taxi or a rideshare vehicle.
- Avoid distractions when driving, especially using your cell phone. In the time that it takes to read a text while driving on the highway, your vehicle can travel the length of a football field or more, all while your eyes are off the road.
- Remember to check traffic and weather conditions before hitting the road. If necessary, delay your departure to avoid bad traffic or adverse weather, or leave extra early to give yourself time to drive more slowly and wait in traffic delays.
Tips to Keep Children Safe in the Car
If you have young children with you in the vehicle, safety tips to remember include:
- Make sure that your children have age and size appropriate car seats or booster seats and seat belts. If a younger or smaller child isn’t sitting in a car seat or booster seat, they have a much greater chance of serious injury in an accident.
- Avoid buckling children into car seats while they are still wearing a large winter coat or jacket. The coat or jacket can prevent the car seat harness from securely holding a child in the event of a crash. Instead, buckle the child into the seat, then put a coat or blanket over them.
- Children under the age of 12 should always ride in the backseat.
Tips for Teen Drivers
If you have teen drivers in your family, safety tips to help keep your teen safe behind the wheel include:
- Sign your teen driver up for additional driver safety courses to help them learn and build up driving skills.
- Take the time to discuss the rules of the road with your teen as well as your expectations for their driving behaviors (such as not speeding, not having friends in the vehicle, keeping their cell phone in their pocket or purse).
- Require your teen to always buckle up; set an example by always using your seatbelt.
- Spend time supervising your teen’s driving in all kinds of weather conditions (so long as conditions are not too dangerous for driving).
Tips for Older Drivers
While teen drivers pose some of the highest risks of being involved in auto accidents, senior citizen drivers also have high rates of crashes. Tips that older drivers should keep in mind to stay safe behind the wheel include:
- Review your medications to check for side effects that may impact your ability to drive safely
- Attend annual eye exams and always wear corrective lenses if required.
- Where possible, stick to routes with street lighting, intersections with traffic signals, and easy parking.
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