Holidays are fantastic. They can also be stressful.
The good: special times with family and friends. The bad: all the travel in between. When winter roads become snowy and icy, the ugly turn into a joyful journey into a jittery one. Fortunately, your safety this season is partially under your control. By following these life-saving driving tips, you'll increase your chances of safely navigating any winter wonderland.
1. Plan Ahead For Your Trip
In the winter, icy roads and strong winds can make driving conditions precarious. With a simple checklist of what you need for proper winter travel, you can confidently prepare your vehicle and head out. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, bringing along the right supplies helps make your trip more fun. Remember to pack a first aid kit, jumper cables, and a windshield scraper to help make your travel safer and smoother. You don't want to be stuck somewhere in the rain without a windshield scraper or low tire pressure. You don't want to get a ticket because you didn't have your lights on during daylight, you didn't have ice scrapers when it was snowing, or you didn't have the proper shock absorbers for your car.
2. Mind Your Speed
Resist the temptation to speed. Remember: an extra 10/MPH can cut stopping distance in half. The consequences of speeding include a higher risk of vehicle damage, personal injuries, and even death. To maintain a safe following distance, try to leave space equivalent to two seconds or more between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. But remember: these other drivers are making bad decisions too. And it's your responsibility to drive defensively. Mind your speed and distance, and you'll be able to avoid crashes on your way to your holiday destination.
3. Drive Defensively
Defensive Driving is an innovative new way to help keep you and your passengers safe while driving on the road this holiday season. We all want to get safely home, but we experience road rage from aggressive drivers during holidays. To avoid traffic jams, drive defensively and let impatient and aggressive drivers pass you or go through the intersection ahead of you to control the situation. With bad weather and crowds of shoppers on the roads, drivers are more prone to speeding, tailgating, and cutting off other drivers – meaning the odds of an accident are increased. Keep a cool head to help reduce everyone's stress by allowing other vehicles to pass in front of you when safe. Put your foot down so that you're always in control of the situation.
4. Don't Drive Under Influence
None of us plan to drink and drive, but a night out with friends and family sometimes has unexpected twists and turns.
Designated drivers, public transit, or taxi cabs are always the safest choices. Suppose you've been drinking, put it in neutral, and call a cab. The NHTSA's Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign aims at those who make the terrible decision to drive impaired. During on sober mind is one of the best safe driving tips for the holiday season one needs to adhere too.
5. Avoid Distractions
The world is full of distractions, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous behind the wheel. According to Distraction.gov, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that's enough time to travel the distance of an entire football field. Distractions can cause you to miss vital signs or indications that could save your life. These days, it can be hard to avoid distractions from phones and family members to the radio.
6. Stay alert and informed of your surrounding.
Are you planning a long drive this holiday? Be smart and make sure you're well-rested before driving. Make sure not to get so exhausted that you nod off behind the wheel. Plan regular breaks for yourself, and remember to close your eyes and relax during the breaks so that fatigue doesn't take over. If you're driving long distances, safety and alertness go hand-in-hand. Plan your journey, Plan the trip, so each person shares the driving responsibilities with scheduled breaks from time to time. Approximately 30% of all crashes and 64% of fatal single-vehicle crashes involve some form of driver fatigue (NHTSA, 2006). As basic as it sounds, driving while alert helps keep you out of harm's way.
Step away from the wheel for a few minutes every two hours or so to shake off the cobwebs, grab a snack, have a drink, do some stretching or some simple exercises to help counteract the adverse effects of fatigue.
7. Make sure you're driving the right set of tires.
The best way to stay safe on the roads this holiday season: choose the right tires to guide your journey. While many drivers use all-season tires year-round, that's not the safest choice in most United States areas. Once temperatures drop below 45 degrees, all-season tires harden and lose a lot of their grip. They also aren't equipped to handle snow and ice. The answer: buying a set of winter or all-weather tires. Winter tires are perfect for areas that experience consistent and severe winter weather.
Drivers who install them during the colder months are protecting themselves against winter's worst. For drivers who face unpredictable winter conditions, all-weather tires are a great choice.
Unlike all-season tires, all-weather products are approved for winter use. Unlike winter tires, drivers can use them year-round. For that reason, they're also an excellent choice for people who are traveling north for the holidays. Nokian Tyres invented winter and all-weather tires and strongly recommended their use this time of year. "Families who are traveling for the holidays shouldn't have to worry about staying safe on the road," said Nokian Tyres, Director of Products and Pricing Steve Bourassa. "Premium winter and all-weather tires provide peace of mind to help drivers and their families enjoy this special time of year."
8. Stay deep and keep the pressure high
During the holidays, there's high pressure to get to your destination safely. For that reason, there should also be increased pressure on each of your tires. Properly inflated tires have a more substantial grip and are less prone to blowouts. They also improve gas mileage by decreasing friction where the rubber meets the road. But your tires' inflation level requires extra attention this time of year: Each 10-degree drop in temperature can cause your tires to lose as much as one psi of pressure. That's why you'll sometimes see your dashboard's tire light glow on a cold morning. "Tires are designed to be used at their optimal inflation level," says Bourassa. "Look on your driver's-side door jamb or in your owner manual to find the recommended pressure level for your vehicle's tires, then keep them inflated throughout the season."
If you're traveling to a colder climate or at a higher elevation, it is worth considering increasing the inflation pressure by 2-to-3 psi to help offset environmental changes. While you're at it, take a look at your tires' tread depth, which is vital for sturdy traction. Use the penny test to measure how much tread you've got left; if you can see Abraham Lincoln's head when you're holding the penny upside down inside the tread, it's time for new tires.
9. Get rotated and aligned
The holidays can wear on all of us. Holiday driving should wear evenly on our tires. That means it's essential to get your tires rotated and check your alignment if you haven't done so in a while. Nokian Tyres recommends rotating your tires every 4,000 to 6,000 miles to make sure they're wearing the right way. Uneven tire wear can lead to unpredictable — and potentially unsafe — performance. Be sure to visit your local tire shop to check your rotation and alignment before hitting the road for the holidays. You don't need a reindeer with a red nose to travel as safely as possible this holiday season. You need to buy the right set of tires and keep a close eye on their maintenance. Then, you'll be able to eliminate an area of stress and bask in the most beautiful time of the year.
The seasons may change, but the number of road accidents does not. It's even more dangerous to drive on the roads during the holiday season. According to official estimates, between 6 million and 8 million people travel during the holiday season every year, a third of whom will be driving on highways. A car is an excellent method for self-service travel as it can be hired cheaply and run on a pay-as-you-go basis.
With no need to tip drivers or haggle about fares, long train journeys can be avoided. Driving provides the sort of flexibility you can carry on exploring while enjoying your holiday.
When driving an automobile, it is essential to always focus on driving. It is only by being fully aware of the road surrounding you that you can prevent accidents.
It is a good idea for long and short trips to turn your mobile phone silent not to be distracted while driving. Ensure that you drive to reference an actual printed map and ensure you have the route planned out before you start the journey.
Using a GPS app on a smartphone can offer directions while driving, but using it for this purpose could result in an accident or distracted driving charges. What are some of the safe driving tips that saved your day while driving for your holiday season?