The holiday season in California, from Thanksgiving in late November through New Year’s and the first week of January, can be some of the most dangerous times to be on the road. There are often people making longer drives than they are used to, people taking to roads they aren’t very familiar with, and sadly many people who drank too much at their family gathering or company holiday party and still got behind the wheel.
While you can’t control what other drivers do on the road you can increase your odds of staying out of a traffic accident by following the tips below to stay safe this holiday season.
1. Adjust Your Driving to the Road Conditions
There are certainly areas of California that have extreme weather during November and December. The most dangerous road conditions are caused by water, whether it be in the form of rain, ice, or snow. Safe driving practices for driving in these conditions are widely known but often ignored in favor of speed. Wind is also a road condition to be mindful of, especially on the many long desert roads in California. Semi-truck trailers are prone to tip over when they are going too fast and are hit by a huge gust of wind so be careful when passing them in windy conditions.
2. Obey the Speed Limit
Driving too fast gives you less time to react to an unpredictable obstacle in your path. You also have less control of your car at high speeds when needing to make evasive maneuvers. And accidents at high speeds often result in more serious injuries or death. Your family wants to see you in one piece, take your time in getting there.
3. Don’t Drive Intoxicated
Drunk driving arrests and accidents skyrocket during the holiday season. Family get togethers can often be a time when people decide to drink or accidently drink too much. The statistics have been well known for a long time so there is no excuse to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. There are many options like ride-sharing apps or staying at the family members house who hosted the event.
4. Don’t Drive Distracted
Knowing that there are potentially more drunk drivers on the road than any other time of the year it probably isn’t a great idea to join the mayhem by pulling out your cell phone while driving. Since the invention of smart phones accidents cause by distracted drivers is quickly climbing the charts of reasons of an accident. If you really have an important message to send or receive find a safe place to pull over and take care of your business before returning to the road. And even though blue-tooth enabled phones are legal, talking on the phone while driving has shown to be dangerously distracting and you should avoid it if possible.
5. Obey Traffic Signs and Signal Other Drivers
Another common cause of traffic accidents is people not following traffic signs which makes their actions become unpredictable to drivers around them. Not using your blinker can also seem harmless but is a large reason for accidents. You’re moving your vehicle around without giving other drivers proper notice of what you’re doing. A driver who sees you are planning on changing lanes or turning can anticipate this action and give you proper clearance to safely perform your action. Work together out there!