“Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go…”
Though for my kids the annual trip up north to visit my parents during the Christmas break would go more like “up I-84, then the Mass Pike, and 495 we go…”
Okay, I’m no Rodgers and Hammerstein, but hopefully you get the idea.
Thing is, I’m not alone on the roads this time of year.
According to AAA approximately 94.5 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more during the upcoming holiday break. That’s a lot of folks driving along when the highways and byways are not always at their best or most “driveable.”
With this in mind here are some simple holiday driving safety tips to follow for a safe and Merry Christmas.
Some common sense Winter holiday driving safety tips
The first tip is to make sure your car is in good working order.
Need an oil change? How about those tires? Don’t postpone any needed scheduled maintenance, and make sure you’re not driving on bald (or nearly bald) tires this time of year.
Next, top off the tank or “fill er up” before you head out on the open road.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to travel 500 miles, 50 or 5, it makes good sense to fill up your tank before you head out on your journey.
And this is especially true for people who live up north or in the northeast. Should you get stuck on the road due to snow or an accident, the only way your car will remain warm is when your engine is running. And this can’t happen if you run out of gas.
Next up… take your time —i.e. no speeding.
According to the US Department of Transportation, “driving too fast for conditions is defined as traveling at a speed that is greater than a reasonable standard for safe driving.” That can mean driving too fast because of rain, ice, snow or too much traffic.
After all, you want to get where you’re going so if you’re a little late the old expression “better safe than sorry” makes perfect sense, especially during this time of year.
Finally, stay alert while driving through parking lots as you wrap up your holiday shopping.
Did you know, for example, that roughly 20% of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
And parking lot safety isn’t just something that drivers need to be aware of. In fact, Sony Phinitsovanna at Bruen Deldin DiDio Insurance, an independent insurance agency in New York, recently shared three parking lot safety tips for business owners, such as keeping areas well lit and making sure sidewalks are clear of ice and snow.
Before you head out on the road make sure that you keep your back window clear of packages and other items when packing up your car or SUV.
And finally, make sure your cell phone is fully charged, and bring along an adapter so that you can charge your phone when you’re on the road. This way you can contact road side assistance or emergency personnel in case of an accident or breakdown.
By following these safety tips I hope you and yours have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
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