TRAVEL SAFELY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Below we share 5 tips that all motorists should read and follow at all times, and especially this upcoming holiday season.
Tip #1: Learn to drive defensively
What you hear and read over and over is to drive defensively if you want to stay safe on the road. This is considered so important that some car insurance carriers will offer a discount if you take a course in defensive driving.
But what does driving defensively really mean? It doesn’t mean to tense up and wait for an accident to happen – it means to be aware of your surroundings and try to anticipate what the drivers around you are going to do. Don’t just react when an accident occurs; always put yourself in a safe position so you never get in an accident to begin with.
An example of defensive driving is where a driver sees a car moving erratically and, noticing that this could cause an accident, avoids that vehicle by slowing down or going around that vehicle.
Tip #2: Roads are much more slippery right after it rains after a long period of dryness
When it has not rained for some time, a mixture of oil and dust builds up on the road. When it first rains, drizzles, or snows after such periods of dryness, the roads are extra slippery due to such build-up mixing with water. Be extra cautious and keep more distance from other vehicles when driving during such times.
Tip #3: Check at least the following before any holiday traveling
Tire pressure and tread depth: under-inflated tires not only waste gas, it is the leading cause of tire failure which can cause auto accidents. Poorly treaded tires increase likelihood of hydroplaning, where a layer of water gets between the tire and the road surface, greatly increasing the likelihood of a loss of steering, braking, and power control.
Replace wiper blades if necessary: unexpected weather should really be expected these days; Google how to replace these on your own and order the correct parts online to save money, or ask your local auto mechanic.
Fill the windshield washer reservoir: even if it doesn’t rain, temperature differences and other environmental conditions can cause the windshield to be covered with by a sheet of condensation and can greatly reduce visibility. Don’t be caught without windshield washer fluid when you need it.
Test the battery: nothing is worse than having a car that won’t start in the middle of your vacation. Batteries that perform fine may not work so well in colder temperatures; get it tested professionally or get a product designed for such purpose.
Tip #4: Buy or make your own emergency road kit
Everyone should have a basic emergency supply kit in their car. This is especially true in California where an earthquake can occur at any time and leave us exposed without items necessary to survive.
At the very least, be sure to keep these items in a plastic bin or duffel bag in the trunk of your car:
- Protein bars
- Flashlight (with head-strap, preferred)
- First aid kit
- Batteries (you can purchase battery packs with car-jump capabilities with built in flash light, power outlet, USB outlet, radio, and other functionalities with increasing price point)
- Whistle (to signal for help or to help others locate you)
- Dusk mask
- Towels, napkins, garbage bags, and plastic ties
- All-in-one hardware kit (screw driver, wrench, etc.)
- Manual can opener for food
- Printed map of local area
- Prescription medication
- Change of clothes
Pre-packed kits can be purchased and are a simple internet search away.
Tip #5: Times to be extra vigilant
Holidays should be festive but no one should be drinking and driving, ever. Unfortunately, 40% of fatal traffic accidents occur during Christmas and New Year’s. New Year’s Day marks the most dangerous day to walk, so be careful when walking around busy roadways.
Driving sober won’t stop other irresponsible drivers from potentially colliding into you. Do your shopping ahead of time and try to minimize time in cars during the holidays.