Holiday Road Safety
During the holiday season, U.S. roads are congested. It can be challenging to drive in tough weather conditions and with everyone rushing to their destination. While there are factors you can’t control, you can take many precautions to increase the safety of yourself, your family, and others on the road.
Some of the most important aspects of holiday road safety include:
According to the October 2010 Tire Tread Survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 18% of California vehicles surveyed had at least one bald tire, while 60% of vehicles had one or more under-inflated tires. Without proper tire tread or inflation, motorists can lose control and cause an accident. Inspect your tires at least once every month, and:
- Check for the proper inflation level and know tire pressure drops 1 psi for every 10°F drop in temperature.
- Look for bulges, nails, and other problems when you check the tire inflation.
- Test tire tread by inserting a penny, upside down; if Lincoln’s head is visible, the tread is too worn.
- Remember to have your tires rotated and balanced every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
- Test your windshield wipers to ensure they’re working and clean.
- Bring tire chains if planning on driving through mountains; they can save your life in snowy conditions.
Proper maintenance is essential for keeping your car reliable and safe. If you’re not up to date on maintenance, schedule an inspection prior to a long drive. You should also:
- Map out your route and plan an earlier start time to avoid holiday traffic.
- Keep all valuables in the trunk or storage area, so nothing gets in the way.
- Have emergency and roadside assistance contact numbers available.
- Have a cell phone and charger with you in case of an emergency.
- Carry a spare tire, emergency roadside kit, first aid kit, flares, and other safety equipment.
Speeding is one of the leading causes of auto accidents, so slow down and stay alert on road and weather conditions. If the pavement is wet or icy, it will take longer to slow, stop, or turn the car. Avoid distractions such as cell phones or texting, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Everyone’s seat belt should be buckled, no matter where you’re going or the length of the drive. That includes children and teen passengers. Small children should be secured with a car seat or booster seat chosen for their age, height, and weight. For older children, show them how to use the seat belt beforehand, and wear yours to set an example. Teenagers should aware of the importance of seat belts too.
If your teen plans on driving, supervise them on short trips before going away. Check all applicable state laws as well. Graduated driver licensing programs can help develop driving skills in beginner-friendly conditions, so they’re more prepared.
Older drivers should discuss their prescription medications with their doctor, and over-the-counter medications with a pharmacist, to prevent problems with drug side effects and interactions. Visit an eye doctor at least once a year to see if corrective lenses if needed. Also consider riding with a friend, using public transportation, or taking a rideshare service.
Holiday road safety is an issue due to the shear amount of people on the road and unpredictable weather this time of year. You can’t control everything, but you can stay up on maintenance, planning, and safe driving. For information on used cars in the Los Angeles area, contact Hawthorne Auto Square today.