By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics
Between Thanksgiving and the New Year holidays estimates project that more than 100 million travelers will take to the road. This added traffic can bring with it extra stress. The congestion coupled with winter weather and spirited celebrations make for a potentially dangerous time to be driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic fatalities increases by approximately 25 percent and injuries are in the tens of thousands during the holiday season. Below are helpful reminders and a winter driving safety tip from Driving Dynamics to assure safe travels during the holiday season and always.
- Get your vehicle road-ready. A well maintained vehicle is a much safer vehicle, especially in poor weather conditions. The lights, oil, tires (condition and pressure level), belts and hoses, brake fluid, antifreeze fluid, and the condition of the battery should all be checked by a professional before hitting the road.
- Plan ahead. Determine your route in advance and check traffic reports and weather conditions before you leave. Pay attention to road conditions and safety warnings. As a backup, bring along a paper map. Even with a GPS system it’s wise to have another option should your GPS unit fail.
- Slow down. Follow speed limits and remember excess traffic and congestion on the roads may mean you’ll have to travel below posted limits. It takes 10 times longer to brake on icy or snowy pavement than it does on dry asphalt. Drive defensively and do not respond to aggressive drivers: It’s far less frustrating to let an aggressive driver pass than to become aggressive yourself.
- Be well rested. You may be in for a long trip so a good night’s sleep before leaving can help make for a better driving experience. Be sure to take regular breaks during long road trips as it can be very dangerous to drive when you’re overly tired.
- Keep free from distractions. There is not much you can do about children repeatedly asking if you’re “there yet” but leave the phone, food, and other distractions alone while you are behind the wheel.
- Prepare for emergencies. Store a blanket, boots, an extra pair of gloves and a flashlight in the vehicle. Traction mats, kitty litter or sand can be used to improve traction on icy surfaces. Also, keep the gas tank at least half-filled to prevent fuel-line freezing in colder climates.
- Stay sober. Do not drink and drive. It sounds easy enough but the reality is that during the holidays a significant number of crash fatalities are a direct result of drunk driving. Do not become another unnecessary statistic.
- Relax and enjoy the ride. While being out on the road this time of year can be stressful, do not allow circumstances to dictate your actions. Frustration can lead to poor decisions and risky behavior behind the wheel. However, with the right attitude and some pre-planning it can also be an enjoyable experience.
Happy Holiday from the Driving Dynamics Safety Team! Arrive safely and enjoy this special time of the year with your family and friends.
Safety & Risk is presented by Driving Dynamics an accomplished provider of impactful driver safety training and risk management services. Continually building and delivering programs based on sound research, proven learning methodologies and expert instruction, we are dedicated to improving drivers’ abilities to stay safe by leveraging risk management tools, principle-based learning and applied techniques. The One Second Advantage™ safety training principle developed by Driving Dynamics is rooted in research that shows 90 percent of all traffic crashes can be avoided when the driver has just one more second to react and knows what to do with that additional second. Driving Dynamics encourages all drivers to Steer Toward Safety™
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