safe driving tipsDuring the holidays, millions of Americans travel on the road to visit friends and family. You can decrease your risk of a car accident occurring if you follow the below safe driving tips.

Safe Driving Tips Before You Begin Your Trip

Maintain your vehicle. This may include changing your oil, rotating or aligning your tires, making sure you have working windshield wipers and enough fluids in your vehicle, and, if due, perform regular maintenance on your vehicle. Test the battery and check your tire pressure and tread depth.

Plan your route. If you are going on a long drive, map your route and familiarize yourself with the directions. Also have an alternative route in mind. Even if you use GPS, there could be situations where you may not have reception or it lags. Unfamiliar routes may also cause you to disobey traffic laws.

Carry an extra cellphone charger. If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in an accident, you may need to contact emergency services or road side assistance.

Keep emergency supplies inside your vehicle. These supplies should include: first aid kit, ice scraper, snow brush, flashlights with fresh batteries, warning flares or reflective triangles, winter clothing gear, blanket, nonperishable food, water, a small shovel, jumper cables, basic hand tools, paper towels or shop rags, and sand, cat litter or traction mats. If you are traveling into the mountains or areas that may get snow and ice, you may also consider having snow chains for your tires.

Safe Driving Tips Right Before You Leave

Check traffic conditions and weather forecast. Knowing what roads to avoid and what weather conditions to expect can ensure a safer trip.

Don’t overload your trunk. Objects may make contact with passengers who are in the backseat if your trunk is jammed with suitcases, gifts, and other items.

Begin your trip during light traffic times. If able, leave early in the the morning or late in the evening when traffic is usually lighter.

Safe Driving Tips While on the Road

Keep children occupied. Fussy, bored children could distract drivers if they are yelling or fighting, which may result in an accident. Keep them busy with books, games, movies, and other comfortable activities that would keep them from distracting you. Expect to spend more time on the road since children will need more snacks and breaks while traveling. Keep children safe by ensuring that they are properly secured in appropriate seats for their age, height, and weight.

Take breaks. Another leading cause of accidents is from fatigued drivers. Taking breaks during a long-distance travel will help revitalize you and ensure a safer trip.

Secure your valuables. There is usually an increase in theft during the holidays. Don’t have any valuables in your vehicle in plain view, which would make you a prime target. Keep your laptops, wrapped gifts, cellphones and other valuables in the trunk or covered storage area.

Safe Driving Tips You Should Follow Regardless of When You Travel

Check your mirrors and blind spots. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are difficult to see. You are obligated to check your surroundings before changing lanes or making a turn.

Winter driving techniques application. Increase your usual following distance. Avoid skidding by slowly applying the gas or brake. Be patient and don’t get distracted.

Ignore text messages or phone calls. Cellphones are becoming an increasing culprit of distracting drivers. Find a safe place to stop if you need to respond to text messages or make phone calls.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Learn More

For more information regarding safe driving tips, especially during the holiday time, contact the Etengoff Pak Law Group – Vancouver Personal Injury Attorney at (360) 979-1927.