|Holiday Safe Driving Tips
|October 31, 2012
|It’s a numbers game, plain and simple. During the holidays there’s a drastic increase in the number of vehicles on the road, and the more vehicles there are on the road, the greater the chances of a collision. People make trips to visit families and friends in places they may not be familiar driving, the weather begins to change, and nights -- a time when incidents tend to increase -- become longer. With so many extra cars and potential hazards on the road, the California Office of Traffic Safety wants to remind Californians of a few tips that can save lives, reduce stress, and ensure that the holidays are a happy and healthy one for all.
Always wear your seatbelt, and wear it properly! November is a Click It or Ticket Awareness Month, and for good reason:
Never drive while distracted:
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that in 2010, 55 percent of the fatalities that occurred over the Thanksgiving holiday were drivers who were not wearing their seatbelts.
- The chances of survival in a crash double whenever you use your seat belt NHTSA estimates that the lives of 1,243 Californians were saved in 2011 by buckling properly.
- Properly buckling up not only has the potential to save your life and the lives of your loved ones, it can save your wallet as well: the minimum cost of a seat belt violation is $159, and a first-time offense for improperly restraining a child is a minimum of $475, with subsequent violations costing a minimum of $1,055.
Always follow at a safe distance and speed by:
- 80 percent of all crashes stem from driver inattention, with cellphones being the largest source of distraction. Reduce the temptation to respond to calls and texts by silencing your phone and letting people know when you’ll be driving so they can avoid trying to contact you. If you MUST respond, pull over! It could save your life.
- Going to visit friends or family that you haven’t seen in a while? Look at the map and review directions before you leave, or set the volume on your GPS to an adequate level so that you can hear it without having to watch it. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can be deadly.
- Eat your meals and do your makeup before you leave the house.
- Again, give yourself extra time!
Always Plan ahead:
- Driving with the flow of traffic. If you’re moving at a slower speed, drive in a lane to the right of faster traffic if one is available. Driving faster than the flow of traffic and weaving in and out of lanes greatly increases the risk of a crash.
- Following at a safe distance. Tailgating severely limits the time available to react to an incident. It can also distract other drivers by making them nervous and shifting their focus on to you, putting you both at greater risk for a crash.
- Planning ahead and give yourself extra time! Picking someone up at the airport? Trying to get to a gathering on time? Make sure to leave early and anticipate traffic. Not only will this eliminate the need to speed, it will help your stress level during the holiday.
If you’re traveling on the roads this holiday season, planning ahead, reducing distractions, and buckling up can save your life and help prevent injury to you, your loved ones, and others on the road. For more tips on safe driving, visit the California Office of Traffic Safety at www.ots.ca.gov or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at www.nhtsa.gov.
- If you’re going to drink, designate a sober driver or make arrangements to stay overnight. A DUI can cost more than $10,000 between fines, fees, classes, and lawyers, and can stay on your record for years. Killing someone because you chose to drive drunk can land you in jail and haunt you for the rest of your life.
- If you’re going to be at an evening gathering, make sure you take care to prevent drowsy driving. Driving while tired can affect decision-making and reaction time, so be sure to get enough sleep and if you can help it, try not to make the drive alone.