As you get ready for your holiday trips, it’s crucial to stay mindful of the potential road hazards during the holiday season. Despite its reputation as the “most wonderful time of the year,” driving during this period can be risky.
During this hazardous time of year, it is important to prioritize your safety on the road and ensure safe arrival at your destination. To achieve this, follow these helpful tips.
1. Buckle up.
It is important to wear your seat belt while driving and ensure that all passengers do the same. The CDC reports that by buckling up, drivers and front-seat passengers can reduce their risk of traffic fatalities by 45% and serious injuries by 50%.
2. Maintain your car.
During the busy holiday season, it’s a good idea to make a habit of completing regular auto maintenance ahead of time. This includes changing your oil, checking your brakes, and rotating your tires. Additionally, if you require new tires due to low tread or snowy weather conditions, it’s best to take care of that early on as well.
3. Prepare before you put it in drive.
In order to focus on driving safely, it’s important to take care of tasks like defrosting your window, setting up your radio, and mapping your route before starting your journey. These tasks should be completed while you’re still in your garage or parking space, to avoid distraction while driving.
4. Don’t drive tired.
If you start feeling drowsy while driving, it’s important to find a safe spot to pull over and take a short nap. Your safety and the safety of others on the road are at risk if you continue driving while half asleep.
5. Eliminate distractions.
While driving in Utah, it is prohibited to hold or use a phone in any way. The state follows a “hands-free” policy, and using your hands to access texts, instant messages, or the internet is prohibited. Furthermore, typing or recording a video on your phone while driving is also not allowed.
Committing a repeated offense will result in a Class B misdemeanor, which may lead to a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence of up to six months. In the event of causing an accident that results in the death of an individual while texting, you will be charged with vehicular homicide, which is a felony in Utah. This offense carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
6. Go the speed limit.
When rushing to get half-priced gifts for stocking stuffers, it’s important to remember that speeding is never worth it. Shockingly, almost one-third of fatal car crashes are caused by speeding. Studies have found that a mere 5 mph increase in speed can lead to an 8% rise in fatality rates on interstates and freeways. During the holiday season, it’s crucial to stick to the speed limit. If the weather conditions are bad, driving below the speed limit is advisable. In wet weather, you should reduce your speed by 30%, and in snow, reduce it by 50%.
7. Don’t tailgate.
When driving at a speed of 55 mph, your car requires 6 seconds and the distance of a football field to come to a complete stop. If you drive too closely behind someone, you increase the risk of a collision.
8. Leave early.
During the holiday season, traffic tends to be heavier on both local streets and highways, so it’s best to plan accordingly. Leaving with little to no extra time for traffic is not recommended, especially during the holidays.
9. Don’t drive under the influence.
There are plenty of rideshare options available, so it’s important that you avoid driving when you’re intoxicated. Even with a blood-alcohol concentration as low as .01 percent, your judgment, coordination, focus, and reaction time can all become impaired. In Utah, a first-time DUI offense can result in a prison sentence ranging from two days to 180 days, a four-month suspension of your driver’s license, and fines exceeding $1,000.
During the busy holiday season, the last thing you want is to deal with a car accident. To stay safe on the roads, follow these helpful tips for navigating the hazardous driving conditions that often come with this time of year.
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