For most families, Christmas generally means some kind of travel. It could be diving a few minutes to a relative’s or friend’s house to exchange gifts or traveling several hours to spend time with family in another city or state. No matter the distance you are traveling, make sure you take the necessary precautions to ensure your family’s holiday travels are safe and successful.
Prepare for Holiday Traffic
Christmas commuters mean that traffic in the city and on rural interstates will be busier than usual. Understand that with increased traffic comes an increased risk of accident. Be aware and alert and keep an eye out for aggressive drivers. If you do come across a driver who seems to be driving a little aggressively, let them pass – your safety comes first.
Expect Adverse Weather Conditions
Depending on where you live, you may experience snow, rain, ice, hail, or sleet during your holiday travels. Before making a trip, check weather conditions and plan accordingly.
Check Your Vehicle’s Maintenance List
While you should always conduct regular checks to fully inspect your vehicle, this is especially true when making long trips, driving in congested traffic, or facing adverse weather conditions – the holidays often include all three of these.
Inspection includes making sure your lights are in working order, your tires are properly inflated and in good condition, your windshield wipers are operational and in good condition, and that there is enough wiper fluid in your vehicle.
Get Some Sleep!
Driver fatigue is dangerous – combine it with the other hazards that come with holiday travels and it can quickly become deadly. Not getting enough sleep can impact your motor skills and reaction time. Being well-rested will allow you to remain alert over the course of your trip. If you find your concentration slipping, take a break or consider allowing a passenger to take over driving duties for a while.
Plan Your Route for Long Trips and Be Prepared for Emergencies
Map out and become familiar with your route ahead of time. Congested roadways could mean you have to prepare for lane changes and exits much earlier than usual. Being unprepared can add unnecessary stress and increase the risk of collision. Also take into account local traffic and weather reports when planning your route.
Be sure you are ready for any potential emergencies. Store coats and blankets as well as water and food in case your vehicle stalls on an empty stretch of road and pack first aid kits and traffic signals in case you are involved in a collision.
National Traffic Accident Statistics
According to the latest available data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- 35,485 people were killed in auto accidents in the United States in 2016, marking a 5.6-percent increase from 2015.
- Of those killed in auto accidents in 2016:
- 22,639 were occupants of passenger vehicles
- 5,495 were pedestrians
- 5,029 were motorcyclists
- 829 were pedalcyclists
- 665 were occupants of large trucks
- 235 were listed as other or unknown
- Injury estimates for the year have not yet been made available.
Contact an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our experienced auto accident attorneys have experience handling a multitude of injury accidents, no matter how severe the crash or injury. You may be entitled to compensation for your damages if another driver acted negligently. Our firm has the experienced lawyers and financial resources that you need to achieve the real results you deserve.
Our firm has offices in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today for a free case review — attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends. If you cannot make it to our office, we can visit you at your home, in the hospital, or at work.