As the holiday season is upon us, the amount of stress and weather conditions play into distracted driving. With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s being in the top five most dangerous holidays for drivers, once we hit November, you should start taking extra precaution.
What these three holidays have in common over the rest of the year is weather. While you can be distracted by so many different items inside your vehicle, adding weather on top of it can make it worse.
Especially ice and snow around Christmas is enough to stress anyone out while they are trying to visit family and holiday shop. This is not the time to be distracted, but beyond texting or intoxication, individuals are distracted by passengers, eating, maps or GPS, and fatigue.
During the holiday season, many individuals are working overtime to get work done so they can take the time off for the holidays and not feel swamped when they return. This means individuals are more tired than usual, and driving multiple hours to take your family to visit in-laws only adds to your fatigue. Make sure to plan extra travel time so you can take more breaks and switch drivers more frequently. Drowsy driving impairs judgment, slows reaction time, and increases the amount of time you need to stop.
Try to have a route planned before you start driving, enter it into your GPS, or have the front passenger be in charge of the map so you can focus on driving. If you are traveling alone and weather forces you to take another route, pull over to determine your new route.
Have your vehicle checked over before a long trip and make sure that you have an emergency kit in your vehicle that is created with winter in mind. Include items like an ice scraper, flashlights, blankets, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit.
Find activities for your passengers to do that are quiet and not too distracting. Avoid trying to change DVDs while driving, but instead wait until you stop completely. Teach your kids the importance of distraction-free driving by having them help participate from a young age. Teaching them to not distract you will show them how to be responsible drivers.
With increased traffic during the holidays, make sure to increase your following distance, especially in bad weather. Commercial vehicles will also be on the roads in larger numbers; do your part to not linger in their blind spot too long as it is difficult for the driver to see you.
Above all, keep your phone on silent and out of your hands, designate a non-drinking driver for festivities, teach your passengers to not be distracting, and stay well-rested. Ice and snow make driving a dangerous adventure, but being aware and increasing your following distance can help prevent accidents.
Through the Focus to the Finish campaign, Pekin Insurance is working to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. We want you to make it to your destination safely and distraction-free. Find out more by visiting www.focus2thefinish.com.