10 Tips for Safe Driving During the Holiday Season

November 30, 2023

For anyone spending time on Pennsylvania’s roads this holiday season, staying safe needs to be a priority. Between winter weather, drivers who are texting with friends and family, and drivers who have had too much to drink, the winter holidays can be among the most dangerous times to drive.

At Drake, Hileman & Davis PC, representing accident victims and their families is a big part of what we do. As a result, we know the consequences of serious car, truck and SUV accidents all too well. With this in mind, we encourage everyone to drive safely this holiday season, and we offer these 10 tips for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe on the road:

1. Know Your Route

These days, it is easy to type an address into your car or phone and then follow the GPS directions turn-by-turn to your destination. But, while this may be the easiest way to go, it is still a good idea to know your route. Are there any confusing intersections or merge areas? Will you be driving on the highway when it is likely to be congested? Will you be driving on backroads that could be snowy or icy? Knowing the answers to these types of questions can help ensure that you are adequately prepared for your trip.

2. Check the Weather

When it comes to preparing for your trip, it is also a good idea to check the weather. This is true whether you are going 15 minutes to the store or four hours to a family member’s house upstate. If you are not comfortable with the forecast when you are planning to leave, then consider leaving earlier or later. When checking the weather, be sure to check the forecasted conditions for your return trip as well.

3. Avoid the Most Dangerous Times to Drive

Certain times of day are statistically more dangerous to drive than others. For example, Friday and Saturday evenings tend to be especially dangerous, as these are generally the times when there are the most drunk drivers on the road. This is especially true during the holiday season.

Even if you are sober and driving safely, there is still only so much you can do to protect yourself and your passengers. With this in mind, it is best to avoid the most dangerous times to drive if possible.

4. Put Your Phone Out of Reach

Distracted driving is among the leading causes of car accidents in Pennsylvania. While texting behind the wheel is illegal in Pennsylvania, it is clear that far too many people still choose to text and drive.

Even if you aren’t primarily responsible for causing an accident, looking at your phone while driving can prevent you from responding to dangerous situations on the road. As a result, if you find yourself tempted by your phone behind the wheel, it is best to put your phone out of reach.

5. Don’t Let Your Passengers Distract You

Passengers can be distracting, too. While you certainly don’t have to ignore your passengers, you should not let them distract you from the task at hand. If someone in the back seat asks you to look at something or turn around, tell them that you need to wait until it is safe to do so. If you need to pay extra attention to traffic or a situation on the road, don’t be afraid to tell your passengers that you need a minute before you can respond.

6. Don’t Drink and Drive

Statistics show that drunk driving accidents tend to spike during the holiday season. To do your part to prevent these accidents, you can make sure that you do not drink and drive. Even just a couple of drinks can start to impair your driving abilities—and it only takes one bad split-second decision to cause a lifetime of consequences. If you are planning on drinking during the holidays, make sure you have a place to stay or a safe ride home and do not take any chances that could put your life or anyone else’s in jeopardy.

7. Don’t Drive While Tired or Fatigued

Between the hustle and bustle of the holidays, working late, and the sun setting well before 6:00 pm, many people struggle with fatigue this time of year. While feeling a little bit tired may not seem like a big deal, studies have shown that fatigue can cause driving impairments similar to low-level intoxication. As a result, if you feel like you might be too tired to drive, it is best to get some rest and then start your journey later.

8. Leave Plenty of Buffer

While it is always important to leave plenty of buffer between your vehicle and the other vehicles around you, this can be especially important during the holiday season. Slippery roads, limited visibility, and drunk and distracted drivers can all increase the amount of buffer you need to stay safe. When in doubt, leave some extra room. It won’t change when you arrive, but it might help protect you from a serious accident.

9. Let Aggressive Drivers Go on Their Way

Aggressive drivers can take you out of the holiday spirit. They can be angering and frustrating, and you may feel tempted to respond. But, responding will only make the situation more hostile (in addition to taking your attention off of the road). With this in mind, it is best to simply let aggressive drivers go on their way.

10. Know What to Do in the Event of an Accident

Finally, to help keep yourself and your passengers safe during the holiday season, it is important to know what to do in the event of an accident. Staying safe at the scene while still taking the necessary steps to protect your legal rights (if possible) is the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones in this situation. To learn what to do, you can watch our video: What Do I Do After a Car Accident?

Contact the Pennsylvania Accident Lawyers at Drake, Hileman & Davis PC

If you find yourself dealing with a car, truck or SUV accident during the holidays, we encourage you to contact us for help. To speak with a Pennsylvania accident lawyer at Drake, Hileman & Davis PC in confidence, call 888-777-7098 or request a free consultation online today.