Tips for Handling Holiday Traffic

‘Tis the season to at least try to be jolly. Yes, it is sometimes difficult to maintain patience and be courteous when the daylight hours grow shorter and the list of things needing to be done grows longer as the holiday season approaches. With the majority of people in America living in areas where every errand and shopping excursion involves the use of an automobile, there is a special need for knowing some holiday traffic tips to get you safely through this season that should be filled with joy.

Be Extra Careful Driving at Night

An article at Forbes.com outlines a lot of details about the Most Dangerous Times to Drive, and statistics indicate that almost half of fatal accidents happen at night. With the holidays coinciding with the end of Daylight Savings Time, a lot of evening activities are now being completed in the dark. Turn your vehicle lights on early or take advantage of automatic lights on vehicles equipped with the feature.

Be Courteous, No Matter What

Being in a hurry during the holidays is an understatement. Everyone is going somewhere, and there is more and more pressure to get more things done in less available time. Even when you are in a hurry, it only takes a moment to be courteous to other drivers. This fosters a better mood in yourself and the other drivers you are courteous to. Equally true is ignoring bad behavior and just moving along. If an inattentive driver gives you a close call, the best of all holiday traffic tips is to let it slide. You are not going to come out ahead by trying to “educate” the other driver or reprimand them with words or gestures. Plus, those few moments of loss of focus on your driving can actually be the cause of an accident. So, be courteous, no matter what.

Prepare Your Mind for Noticing Accident Details

Unfortunately, alcohol is behind many automobile accidents, and it is common for drunk drivers to be involved in hit-and-run accidents of vehicles and pedestrians. The statistics for pedestrians reported by a National Institutes of Health article indicate that almost 20 percent of hit-and-run pedestrian fatalities have motorists leaving the scene. If you witness a hit-and-run of a pedestrian or motor vehicle or are the victim of a hit-and-run accident, you should do your best to note details such as the model, make, color and license plate of the vehicle and a description of the driver. Even partial information is better than nothing.

Make Sure Your Car Is Ready for Driving During the Holidays

Many states have annual vehicle inspection requirements, but you do not have to wait until your sticker is about to expire to make sure all your lights are working. Also, if you live in an area where the holidays can also bring snowy or icy road conditions, be sure to have the proper tires put on your vehicle for the season. Some areas of the country actually require tire chains when the weather gets really bad. In addition, one of the better holiday traffic tips is to keep aware of daily weather reports to avoid being out when the weather is going to turn bad. You can use an app to get weather warnings for your area on your smartphone.

Follow Safety Protocols

The holidays are prime time for the criminal element to ply their trade. Avoid becoming the victim of a carjacking by following safety protocols when driving. Most newer vehicles have automatic door locks that engage when the vehicle’s transmission is put into gear. Some lock when the vehicle reaches about 10 mph. You should lock your doors as soon as you get in your vehicle. You should also look inside your vehicle before entering it. Leave room between your vehicle and the one in front of you at stops to allow a quick avenue of escape. Also, do not fall for the bump-and-run trick. This is where your car is slightly bumped by another vehicle. When you get out to assess any damages, another person steals your car. Call 911, and get to a safe location if you feel threatened.

The best resource for staying safe during holiday driving is between your ears. Use critical thinking skills to assess every driving situation you find yourself in. Remember that you are responsible for the safety of yourself, your passengers and other motorists on the road with you. The best holiday traffic tips involve good old common sense and courtesy.