With the holiday season coming up, many of you will be traveling far or near to be with family. The Christmas season is one of the biggest travel times of the year as travelers rush to get home in time to open presents. Many travelers are concerned with getting to their destinations as fast as possible, but few stop to think about the best safety measures—and nothing could be more important for you and your family. Here are seven tips to ensure you get to your destination safely this holiday season.
- Put Away Electronic Devices. Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2014, 18 percent of car crashes were due to distracted driving. It’s tempting to check your phone when you get a text message, but keep your family and your own safety in mind and resist taking your attention off the road. But it doesn’t just stop with cell phones—you should never use tablets and other hands-free devices. If you do need to make a call, safely pull over to the right shoulder to use your phone.
- Make Adjustments Before You Begin Driving. Just like with cell phones and other hand-held devices, a GPS can be dangerous, especially if you’re using a mobile app like Google Maps or Waze, which can require you to turn your attention from the road. You can prevent that from happening by entering in your route information before you even back out of the driveway. If you do need to use your GPS, pull over or hand the device to the person in the passenger seat.
- Avoid Multi-Tasking. We’ve all been there: You oversleep and have to rush to get ready, so you rush to put on makeup or even eat breakfast in the car. But when you’re driving, your only focus should be safety. Wait until you get to your office to finish applying your mascara, or eat your breakfast at your desk. Multi-tasking can be a good thing, but on the road it’s dangerous to you and those around you.
- Pass Requests to Passengers. As the driver, your only job is getting from point A to point B safely. If you need to do anything that could take your attention from the road—like answering a phone call or changing the radio station—ask the passenger to do it for you. This will ensure you keep your eyes on the road and avoid any dangerous distractions.
- Ensure Children Are Safe and Secure. If you have children, you know that car rides can be tricky. Children demand a lot of attention, especially when they’re alone in the back seat and don’t have much entertainment. Instead of reaching into the back seat while you’re driving, pull over to the side of the road to make sure your children’s needs are met without compromising safety.
- If You Need to Sleep, Then Sleep. Though it might seem harmless, drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving. A 2016 study by AAA found that crash risks rise dramatically with only one or two hours of lost sleep. If you find yourself struggling to keep your eyes open, don’t just drink a cup of coffee. Pull over and take a nap, or check into a hotel to make sure you’re fully energized and alert. You should never risk your safety by driving drowsy.
- Don’t Let Pets Wander in the Vehicle. We all know that wearing your seatbelt is the law—but have you ever thought about your pets? When left to wander around in a car, pets can become a huge distraction. Just like you and your loved ones, pets should be safely secured in a moving vehicle. Many pet stores sell pet carriers that can be secured with a seat belt. Just as you invest in your own safety, make sure to take care of your animals
Holiday travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Take the time to review appropriate safety measures like these tips to ensure that you and your family travel safely and happily during the holiday season.