For most of us, the holidays are ‘the most wonderful time of the year.’ They’re an incredibly special time for family and friends to create many memories together but to create those memories, you – and a record hundreds of millions of other traveling celebrants – may have to take to the roadways, causing heavy traffic and congested highways.
A little preparation can help you avoid any precarious situations while traveling, including drivers who are stressed, frustrated, anxious, distracted or intoxicated – or all of the above.
With the end-of-the-year holidays upon us, here are some suggestions of what you should do before and after you leave your house.
HOLIDAY TRAVEL SAFETY
Before you leave the house, be sure to …
- Plan your trip. Check traffic reports and weather forecasts before you leave. Bring a physical map in case your GPS or cell phone is out of range, minutes or charge. Plan an alternate route in advance.
- Prepare your vehicle. Before you leave, check your lights, oil, tires, belts and hoses, brake fluid, antifreeze fluid, and battery.
- Prepare your Emergency Contact Information (ECI). ECI is a secure system allowing law enforcement, nationwide, to contact designated family or friends in response to an emergency situation.
- Prepare yourself. If you plan on driving during the holidays, try to get enough restful sleep the night or two before you leave to help you stay alert during the drive.
After you leave your house, be sure to …
- Drive sober. Alcohol impairs all of the important skills needed to drive safely, such as judgment, reaction, vision and concentration. Plan ahead and find a safe way home every time – designate a driver or call a ride service. And remember that tipsy driving is impaired driving.
- Buckle up. Florida law requires that all drivers, all front seat passengers and all passengers under the age of 18 wear seat belts or the appropriate child restraints. Seat belts save lives, so buckle up every trip, every time – and make sure that everyone in the car is wearing their seat belts, too.
- Obey all speed limits. Speed limits may change as you drive through different roadways, so make sure you adjust your speed accordingly. In Florida, the limit will never be over 70 mph.
- Drive defensively. Assume that other drivers are distracted, sleepy, or impaired and drive accordingly. Allow questionable drivers to pass you or go through an intersection ahead of you so you stay safe and in control.
- Stay Calm. You can’t control traffic, other delays or other drivers. Try to stay calm to not only make your trip more enjoyable for you and your passengers, but to also stay safe.
- Avoid distractions. If you’re driving, don’t use your cell phone. And should you need to use your cell phone, find a safe area to pull off the road and use it.
By remembering these tips, you can make the trip to your holiday celebrations safe and uneventful, leaving you to focus on what really matters: enjoying the holidays with your loved ones and creating a lifetime of memories for many years to come.
If you do happen to get into an accident, make sure you contact Tampa accident and injury attorney John Castro immediately to ensure you have someone representing your best interest in the face of insurance companies who will try and protect their own bottom line.
From our Anton Castro Law ‘family’ to yours, we wish you and your loved ones the very best this holiday season!