The holiday season is a challenging one for drivers, with ice and snow on the roads, shorter days, and encounters with oblivious or unsafe shoppers. At SJ Injury Attorneys, our Houston car accident attorney knows that the winters here in Pasadena, TX, are milder than in other places, but we feel nonetheless that drivers should be ready for them. Here are our car accident attorney's top six safety tips for driving during the holidays.
6 Safety Tips to Keep You Safe While Driving During the Holiday Season
- Lower Your Speed. The holiday shopping craze can infect anybody, so drivers should mind their speed more than ever during this season. The faster one goes, the greater the chance of an accident, and the higher the risk for a severe injury. On slick roads, drivers must slow down, even below the posted speed limit if need be, to maintain traction on the road, as speed limits are set based on ideal weather conditions.
- Increase Your Following Distance. On slick roads, where tires have less traction, it takes longer for vehicles to come to a stop. In fact, the stopping distance may double on icy or snowy ground. To avoid a rear-end collision, drivers should increase their following distance to at least five or six seconds. Simply pick a stationary object that you and the driver in front will pass to determine the length of this safety buffer.
- Practice Defensive Driving. This is a good tip for any season. To be defensive is to assume that everyone else on the road is liable at any time to do something unsafe: brake suddenly, dart out in front of you from a side street, etc. It also means reacting calmly against such unsafe maneuvers. Never be an aggressive or impatient driver, and always yield to such drivers.
- Avoid Distractions. The Texas Department of Transportation states that one in five crashes involve a distracted driver. Cell phone use is especially prominent, and with the holiday season, it's not unusual for some to seek online deals while driving. If you need to call or text, then pull over to the side of the road.
- Do Not Drive Drunk. Holiday parties can put you in a position where it would be wrong to get behind the wheel. Remember, drunk driving is not only a negligent act; it is also a criminal one. It would be wise, then, to have a designated driver before attending parties.
- Plan Ahead. If you go holiday shopping, it's possible that you will be traveling down unfamiliar roads. Winter weather can be unpredictable; accidents can occur, forcing you to take detours. All of this reinforces the value of planning your route and checking the weather ahead of time.