Holiday, Thanksgiving & Black Friday driving safety tips

snow-170131_1280There are more than websites that are crashing for Black Friday and family holidays. Cars crash too. Here are safety trips from safety and car care experts to avoid holiday car problems.

During the holidays, many drivers are more concerned about getting to their destinations quickly than safely,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “But overlooking common roadway risks can have deadly consequences. Make sure you pay attention and drive defensively so everyone can spend time with friends and family rather than at a hospital.”

Tips to help drivers stay safe during Thanksgiving from the National Safety Councel travel include:

  • Designate an alcohol and drug-free driver or arrange alternate transportation.
  • Get plenty of sleep and take regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
  • Never use a cell phone behind the wheel, even hands-free.
  • Do not allow teens to drive with their friends or younger siblings. A single young passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent.
  • Learn about your vehicle’s safety systems and how to use them.
  • MyCarDoesWhat can help drivers understand the ins and outs of features such as adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning systems and backup cameras.

Care Enough to Repair with the 3 P’s

With the holiday season upon us, many Americans are stretching their dollars to make a trip home for the holidays. While driving is the thrifty option, unexpected vehicle repairs can bust your budget this time of year. The non-profit Car Care Council advises motorists planning a road trip over the holidays to follow the three Ps – prepare, prevent and plan – to save money and avoid breakdowns.

  • Prepare. Conduct a pre-trip vehicle inspection. If you find your vehicle needs repairs, be sure to address them in a timely manner so they can be performed by a trusted technician before your journey. While it may be tempting to put off repairs until after the holidays, it is not worth the risk and added expense of more extensive work down the road.
  • Prevent. The last thing any driver needs is to break down in cold, harsh winter weather. A pre-winter vehicle check is a sensible way to avoid the inconvenience of being stranded out in the cold as well as costly emergency towing and repairs.
  • Plan. Before traveling longer distances, plan your route and review the council’s steps to better fuel economy to maximize savings at the pump. Pack a road emergency kit, including jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets, and be sure your cell phone is fully charged.

A recent study by the National Safety Council ranks Thanksgiving as the deadliest holiday period of the year, averaging 506 deaths nationally per year for the past two decades.

Extra Care in CA

To help everyone stay safe this Thanksgiving and throughout the winter months, OTS of California recommends the following tips:

  • Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, anti-freeze, heater and lights are in top condition. Make sure your tires, including the spare, are properly inflated and the treads are in good condition.
  • Checkt he weather forecast ahead of any expected heavy storm during this season.
  • Buckle seat belts, everybody, every trip. Wearing a seat belt is the best defense to prevent injury and death in a crash. That includes buckling children into properly installed child safety or booster seats.
  • Remain alert. Constantly scan the road for brake lights in front of you.
  • Part of being alert is minimizing distractions, like turning off or silencing your cell phone.
  • If it’s raining hard, keep your vehicle in the middle lane, since water tends to pool in outside lanes.
  • Turn on your headlights in rainy, foggy or overcast conditions. Use low beams in fog or snow.
  • Do not use cruise control during wet or snowy road conditions. Cruise control can cause skidding and loss of tire traction in winter conditions.
  • In rain or snow, first slow down, then increase the following distance between you and the car in front. Stopping distances can double in rain and triple in snow.
  • Never drive through running water that could be deeper than the bottom of your vehicle.
  • In the event you find yourself hydroplaning or skidding, remember the following:
    • Do not brake or turn suddenly. Take your foot off the gas until you slow enough to feel traction on the road again.
    • Turn your steering wheel in the direction of the skid and as you recover control, gently straighten the wheels.
    • If you need to brake, do so with light pumping action. If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally, because the vehicle’s computer will mimic a pumping action.
  • Carry an emergency kit in your trunk for safety, comfort and possible repairs.
  • Finally, don’t drive when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs whether they be illicit or prescription. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, always designate a sober driver.

We also would like to note that eating a lot of turkey and food makes you drowsy.  Don’t drive when drowsy.

By following these tips, everyone can enjoy a safe and happy Thanksgiving. Then we can all be grateful we are alive, driving and safe.