When the holiday season begins, people travel to other parts of the state or country to celebrate the festivities with family and friends. Some might even stay local but attend holiday parties, dinners, and other social events.
Unfortunately, an increase in traffic on roadways means drivers can face additional hazards they didn’t encounter before. Many people take road trips out of town for Thanksgiving or another holiday to spend time with loved ones. Others decide to drive home after a night of drinking, placing the occupants of other vehicles in danger.
Accidents are common around the holidays. If you’re planning a road trip this holiday season, it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe on the roads. The tips below could prevent a severe collision and injuries.
Plan Every Detail Before Leaving Home
It’s vital to prepare for your upcoming trip adequately. That means you should plan the route you want to take to avoid ending up on deserted stretches of road, so you’re not stranded in the middle of nowhere if you’re in an accident or run out of gas.
Research locations of restaurants, gas stations, and rest stops along the route you choose. That way, you can stop for breaks whenever necessary. You should also book a hotel at convenient areas near your route so you can get a good night’s sleep if you’re driving a long distance.
Preparations should also include checking the weather forecast. Confirm the weather conditions around the times you predict you’ll be in those areas. For example, if you’re traveling to a cold state, make sure there isn’t a snowstorm on its way. That could cause major problems during your trip and place you in danger.
Perform Thorough Maintenance on Your Car
Although you should maintain a safe vehicle throughout the year anyway, the holidays bring up the need to ensure every part of your car is in good working condition. When you know you have to drive many hours away from home, you need peace of mind that your vehicle will take you there without any issues.
Bring your car in for routine maintenance. Check that your fluids aren’t low and your tires have enough air in them. If the mechanic finds problems with any parts or systems, you should address them immediately. It’s never a good idea to take a malfunctioning car on a road trip.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle
You never know what hazards you might encounter during the drive. Packing an emergency kit could save your life if you’re involved in a collision or run out of gas in a remote area.
It could be hours or even days before someone finds you, especially if you don’t have cell service. You need bottled water to stay hydrated and enough non-perishable food to keep you well-nourished until help arrives. If you’re traveling somewhere hot, bring a battery-operated fan to keep you cool. If you’re driving to a cold climate, pack thick blankets to keep you warm.
You should also include emergency devices, such as flares, traffic cones, and other items to alert passing motorists that you need help.
Keeping medical supplies on hand is another excellent idea in case you get hurt. Pack band-aids, gauze, Neosporin, and other essentials. You could put together your own kit or buy one that already includes everything you might need in an emergency.
Long road trips can cause your mind to drift off into daydream land. If you’re not focusing on the road ahead, you’re less likely to notice a hazard in the road or a vehicle traveling next to you. If you’re not paying attention to your surroundings because you’re thinking about something else, you could sideswipe a car while changing lanes.
Distracted driving is dangerous. Texting at the wheel prevents motorists from seeing what’s in front of them. Even if you only look down for a few seconds, that’s enough time for another driver to merge in front of your vehicle or for traffic to come to a standstill. If you’re looking down at your phone or reaching in the backseat for your bottled water, you likely won’t have enough time to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision.
Take Breaks to Combat Fatigue
Many people don’t understand the dangers of fatigued driving. When you’re on the road for hours at a time, your body and mind can begin to shut down. It’s often more challenging to recognize hazardous conditions and react appropriately.
It’s best to take breaks at frequent intervals during your trip. Break up the drive into smaller distances, so you don’t spend too much time at the wheel.
If you start to feel tired at any point, pull off the road to rest. You can pull into a restaurant to order a cup of coffee or park in a lot and walk around to get the blood flowing through your body.
You’re at a greater risk of ending up in an accident if you try to drive straight to your destination, especially if it’s hundreds of miles away. If you feel like you can’t continue without a significant break, find a hotel to spend the night and get back out on the road feeling refreshed the next morning.
Contact The Bruner Law Firm
If you suffered injuries in a car accident in Florida through no fault of your own, do not hesitate to contact The Bruner Law Firm. We have represented accident victims since 1992. Our legal team is ready to hold the negligent driver liable and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (850) 243-2222 right now for your free case evaluation.