Most people will get behind the wheel and spend a few hours in the car during the holidays, whether it is attending a Christmas party, visiting family and friends, or completing some last minute shopping. During the holidays, everyone seems to have their minds elsewhere – gifts, cluttered schedules, and much more. Even though you certainly have a full plate, you need to stay aware of the road ahead and make sure you are not becoming distracted at a time you need your attention the most – while driving.

10 Tips for Safer Holiday Travel

You will be sharing the road with hundreds of Americans also trying to reach their holiday destinations. There will be traffic, your car will be full of family and gifts, and you will have plenty on your mind. To help stay safe, consider these tips before you begin your holiday journey:

  1. Prepare your vehicle. Your vehicle should be ready for longer drives. That means having the right washer fluid, wiper blades. and tires, and being ready to take on harsh weather. If you have any video entertainment systems you plan to use for the children, make sure they are ready to go before you start the vehicle – that way you are not trying to adjust them while driving.
  2. Plan ahead. You need to give yourself enough time to reach your destination. Remember that traffic is much more intense during the holidays. If you are traveling somewhere new, make sure you know the exit number and name, so you are not attempting to look at a map or fumbling with navigation when your eyes should be on the road.
  3. Be a defensive driver. Keeping a careful lookout and always being prepared for aggressive and distracted drivers, as well as other roadway hazards, is the best way to protect yourself from a collision. Ensure you give yourself distance between other drivers and keep an eye on the vehicles in front, behind, and to the sides of you.
  4. “Glove Box” your cell phone. Cell phone activity can be tempting to engage in while driving. By making it a habit to put your cell phone in the glove box you can effectively  quash this temptation and set an example for your passengers.
  5. Eat before you leave. In the hustle you may be tempted to eat or drink while driving. However, eating and drinking food is just as distracting as texting or talking on the phone – and also requires you to take a hand off the wheel to do so.
  6. Avoid hands-free devices too. Hands-free devices may allow you to grip the wheel, but they do not allow your mind to fully focus on driving. So, skip the hands-free device.
  7. Set navigation before you leave. Do not input the address of your destination while you are on the road. Instead, set your navigation before you even start the engine. If you need to adjust it, have the person in the passenger seat do so for you.
  8. Handle kids with care. Children may be anxious to get out of the car, tired, cranky, or even hungry. Avoid temptations to fight or soothe upset children while driving. Instead, pull over and then give them your full attention. If you can, bring distractions for the kids so that they are settled in for the drive.
  9. Stay Alert. Fight against the natural temptation to let your mind drift or engage in activities not essential to driving. Remind yourself that driving requires the highest degree of care. Take plenty of refreshment breaks and avoid long stretches of driving.
  10. Get some sleep. It may be hard during the holidays to get the sleep you need, but being fatigued could keep you from focusing on the road.

If you or a loved one is injured by a distracted driver this holiday season, do not forget that you have options. Speak with an attorney at Horn Law today regarding your accident. Call 816-795-7500 for a free consultation or ask more questions about distracted driving online.