More Americans than ever are using their vacation time at the end of the year to visit their dearest loved ones both near and far. In fact, 2017 saw record numbers of over 100 million holiday travelers and 2018 looks as though it will continue the growth trend. U.S. car-related fatalities also reached record highs in 2017 at over 40,000 for the year, and many of those occur during the winter holidays. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways to help avoid being involved in a fatal car accident and help ensure everyone has a safe and satisfying holiday season.
Coddle and Check Your Car
A safe trip begins well before you get on the highway. Be sure to keep your car in order with a winter tune-up, proper fluid flush and add, filter changes, belt and hose changes, as well as winter tire rotation and checks. A little pre-planning and necessary car coddling can help avoid breakdowns and accidents.
Hope for the Best But Plan for the Worst
Go ahead and dream of sugarplums dancing over everyone’s heads and write out your schedule by the expected minute. But know things rarely go as smoothly as planned. Pack winter survival and emergency road kits for your car. Keep extra blankets, snacks, extra mobile device chargers, emergency numbers, flashlights, a mini first aid kit, and games or reading materials for kids and passengers in the survival kit. And for the emergency kit, pack flares, jumper cables, an ice scraper, sand or salt, a shovel, duct tape, extra fluids, and a car jack in the emergency kit. That way, regardless of what happens, comfort is at least provided while help’s on the way.
Auto accidents are the top cause of death of American teens, but teenagers learn most of their driving habits from their parents or guardians. In fact, while parents insist they perform safe driving behaviors around their kids, teens tell another story. And while 20% of teens still text or use mobile technology while driving, 30% of teens admit their parents do. In a national study performed by Liberty Mutual Insurance, parental and teen driving behaviors were surveyed and compared. And across the board, parental driving behaviors were slightly worse than their teenagers’. So, parents, pay attention to what you’re doing because the other passengers in the vehicle definitely are.
Pad Your Schedule and Slow Down
Each year, over 76,000 motorists or passengers are injured in auto accidents, and 900 people are fatal victims. Speeding or even going the speed limit during inclement weather is a big cause of those accidents. Add in impaired driving during the holidays and the risks of witnessing or experiencing a fatal car accident expand. Snow and ice are all too common on Midwest roadways and even the listed speeds can reduce 13% during a light snow and up to 40% during heavy snowfall. So plan accordingly. Check the weather predictions prior to leaving. Schedule your driving times before or after expected high traffic times and be prepared to reduce your speed at any time. It just might help you avoid needing to contact a competent Michigan personal injury attorney.