It’s estimated that holiday traffic records will be broken this year, with nearly 105 million Americans driving to their holiday destinations. Whether your winter holiday destiny is to be one of those drivers, or you’re staying close to home, you should be aware of these top driving hazards:
- Ice and snow
- Poor visibility
- Sudden weather changes
- Drivers who aren’t experienced at driving in winter weather conditions
- High volume of vehicles on the roads
- Impaired or fatigued drivers
- Drivers from out of town who aren’t sure where they are going
Be prepared for these hazards and stay safe on the road with these tips.
Staying Safe on Your Holiday Road Trip
Tip #1: Prep your vehicle
Is your vehicle due for an oil change? What’s the level of the other fluids under your hood? How’s the condition of your tires and is your tire pressure correct? What about your battery life? Do you have an emergency kit in your car?
Make sure your car is ready for the long drive and all potential weather conditions along your route. Check out our safety checklist to ensure you’re covered.
Tip #2: Plan and be familiar with your route
Low visibility due to weather and early sunsets can make navigating those middle-of-nowhere patches along your route difficult. Make sure you are familiar with how you’ll get from Point A to Point B, and that you have a paper map in the car, just in case you don’t have cell service — you never know.
Tip #3: Make sure to account for heavy traffic in your planned driving time
The volume of vehicles on the road increases this time of year, meaning it will probably take you longer to get to your destination than planned. If you’re mentally prepared for delays, they’ll be easier to take when they happen to you.
Tip #4: Know the weather forecast
Depending on where you’re driving this holiday season, you might need to brush up on your winter driving skills. Especially if you’re accustomed to driving in Phoenix, where we have few weather events, make sure you know how to drive if you encounter ice, snow and fog.
Staying Safe Driving Around Phoenix
Tip #1: Be prepared for more vehicles on the road
We live in an area of high traffic, and our freeways seem to burst with extra cars this time of year. Mentally prepare yourself for this extra volume, plan adequate time to get to your destination, and be a safe driver yourself by being alert and driving predictably and defensively.
Tip #2: Steer clear of aggressive driving
Even though this is supposed to be a cheer-filled season, all the extra traffic can set drivers on edge. Don’t drive aggressively yourself — be considerate of others on the road who may not be familiar with our freeway system and who are just trying to navigate to their destination. If you encounter an aggressive driver, don’t make eye contact and keep your own emotions in check.
Tip #3: Don’t drink and drive
Never, ever drink and drive. There are so many options for getting home after a party or event: Lyft, Uber, a taxi, designated drivers, and so on. Commit now to use these options to keep yourself and others safe.
Tip #4: Know how to spot and report an impaired driver
Some signs that a driver may be driving impaired include:
- Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
- Swerving, weaving or zigzagging
- Stopping or erratic braking for no apparent reason
- Straddling the lane markers
- Driving without headlights at night
- Slow response time
- Driving well under the posted speed limit
- Driving in the opposite direction of traffic or on the wrong side of the road
If you see a driver that you believe may be impaired, stay as far away from that vehicle as possible. Try to get a vehicle description, including the license plate number, and make, model and color. Use your cell phone to dial 911, pulling over if possible if you don’t have a hands-free way to call. Know your location so you can report that to the 911 operator.
Want to learn to be a better defensive driver, particularly during this busy holiday travel season? Contact us today to learn about our defensive driving course options.