The holiday season is often the busiest, with more people rushing to make last-minute plans. There’ll be an uptick in car crashes as more traffic hits the roads as people dash to shopping malls, travel to visit their families, or go out to holiday parties.
This is when there’s a lot more traffic and drivers experience the most distractions and driving hazards. AAA estimated that in 2021, up to 48.3 million people would be driving on the road during Thanksgiving alone. This gives us the bigger picture of what to expect during the long holidays and its impact on driving safety.
So what are the dangerous behaviors we are likely to see amongst drivers driving during this festive season?
The holiday season is a tempting time for everyone. It’s the only time you want to live carefreely, and in doing so, you endanger your life and that of other people, especially when driving under unsafe conditions.
Dangers Associated with Holiday Driving
Here are some of the dangers of holiday driving:
Stressed driving can be risky. Most of us feel pressed for time, especially when we have a lot to accomplish within a short time. Between shopping, packing, fuelling the car, and setting off on a long journey home, you’ll experience a lot of stress and fatigue. This can draw your attention away from the road and lead you to cause an accident.
There’s a lot of celebration and merriment during holidays. You want to go clubbing or partying, forgetting that you’ll need to drive home afterward. Hitting the road drunk impairs your vision. The result is loss of focus and attention – the two greatest ingredients for holiday accidents and fatalities. The hangover also adds to the fatigue, making you experience slow reaction times, which isn’t good when you’re behind the wheel.
An Influx of Cars
Too much traffic is always the norm during holidays, with more drivers on the road. With such heavy traffic, motorists get impatient and start doing risky maneuvers in a bid to get to their destination faster, endangering the safety of everyone.
Inclement weather increases the risk of road crashes during the holiday season. Black ice, hail, snow, and high winds make it challenging for even the most attentive motorist to drive safely. They’ll always face hazardous situations while traveling.
These are just a few of the dangers of holiday driving. It is crucial to understand such risks, so you know how to navigate them safely.
Driving safely during the holiday season is very important. That’s why we’ve prepared these tips to help you stay safe amidst the holiday rush.
How to Travel Safely in the Holiday Season
Even the most careful motorists cannot avoid road risks while traveling during holidays. Traffic, weather, and other hazardous situations can wreck your holiday plans. But you can’t let that happen.
This festive season, follow these tips and stay safe on the road.
1. Get Your Car Serviced
When planning a long-distance trip this holiday, you must keep your vehicle in tip-top shape. With the snowy atmosphere getting the roads icy, sandy, and salty, the car should be well serviced in preparation for the harsh weather conditions. Not forgetting the heavy traffic.
To ensure your safe arrival:
- Make all the necessary repairs to the care before setting off
- Let the mechanic examine it thoroughly
- Inspect the brakes, seat belts, steering wheel, tires, lights, and more
- Remove any clutter inside it
- Keep the seat belt on all the time. Your passengers should do the same
- Check the oil and gas too
This will help prevent any breakdown in the middle of your journey. Minimize distractions as much as possible. For example, keep off your cell phone while driving and get enough rest and sleep before your trip.
2. Put Your Safe Driving Skills into Full Use
It is the festive season, and not every motorist is at their best at this time. But you need to focus on arriving safely at your destination. That means you should stay focused and drive with utmost care.
Avoid picking calls, calling, or texting while driving. Follow traffic lights and stop signs and keep an eye on other motorists. Things like tailgating shouldn’t even cross your mind. Let the other motorists merge appropriately to minimize crash risks. If you must drink, make sure you organize for alternate transport.
3. Plan an Early Trip
Traffic is inevitable during holidays. It can suddenly swell up and disrupt your itinerary when you least expect it. Map out other available routes with less traffic to avoid delays or accidents.
- Give allowance for rest stops throughout the trip.
- Have a companion(s) with you to assist you on the wheel when exhausted or in an emergency.
- Let others know you’ll be traveling.
- Charge your cellphone beforehand.
- Pack appropriately without distorting your rearview.
- Eat light, sleep heavy to wake up energized for the trip.
4. Take Note of the Weather Changes and Plan Well
Sometimes weather can be unpredictable, especially when it’s snowy and icy. Always be prepared for such situations by carrying snow chains. Adjust your plans to include icy conditions, which may create black ice. Black ice is a dangerous hazard known to cause accidents and severe injuries. You must be able to spot it so you can drive defensively and slowly when the weather is poor.
Always check the weather forecast to know what to expect before you hit the road. This will help with your preparedness. You can re-route or delay your journey to avoid any hazards or complications. You can resume when it’s safe to travel.
5. Prepare for Any Emergencies
Before traveling over the festive season, you should always prepare for any emergency. Besides keeping your phone charged, bring along some flashlights, pack one or two spare tires, and any other essential items you may need.
Consider an emergency travel kit with items like;
- Thick blankets
- Rock salt or sand to help with tire traction
- First aid kit with supplies
- Replacement batteries for flashlights
- Road flares
Many people die every year during holidays for their carelessness while driving. If you must drive, you need to learn how to prepare for and manage different road situations.
Anticipate the likely holiday driving dangers before they occur and plan how to manage them. Long road trips are even more dangerous and need proper planning and preparation. The roads are not only busy, but they are also less safe. That’s why you must take precautions to stay safe. Extra driving lessons can help you cope with more challenging road conditions.