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Holiday Travel Safety Tips

Posted in Car Accident on November 21, 2017

The 2017 holiday season is here. It’s both a hectic and joyous time for families, but it can also be dangerous—especially as people hit the road to travel long distances to see friends and loved ones.

Experts predict that the 2017 holiday season will be the busiest since 2005, as more than 50 million Americans are expected to travel at least 50 miles or more on Thanksgiving alone—and 45 million of those travelers will take to the country’s highways and interstates. In comparison, more than 100 million Americans travel annual for Christmas between December 23 and January 3, and more than 90 percent of those travelers get to their destinations via vehicle.

Traffic is heaviest on the day before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, while the two days before Christmas and Dec. 27 are considered the worst days to travel in December. Traffic app Waze says that it sends 87 percent more traffic alerts, flags 14 percent more accidents, identifies 23 percent more road hazards, and displays 33 percent more police notifications on Dec. 27 than any other day of the year.

It’s clear that the risks of accidents increase during the holiday season. That’s why it’s vital for drivers to be careful and safety-minded whether they’re driving to complete their holiday shopping lists, driving to and from work, or driving to visit family and friends.

6 Steps to Reduce Your Risks of a Holiday Traffic Accident

Whether you’re driving across the city or across the country, it’s important to be prepared for worst case scenarios, including car trouble, major delays, road closures, and accidents. At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident lawyers know that holiday travel increases people’s risk of being involved in crashes. We also know that following these six steps can help reduce risks:

  1. Get your car inspected before leaving home. This tip is especially important if your holiday travels require driving a long distance, as running into car troubles when you’re far from home can quickly put a damper on your Thanksgiving or Christmas and can even put you at increased risk of an accident. Make sure that a mechanic or service shop inspects components like your battery, tires, brakes, and lights. You should also prepare your vehicle for an emergency by packing jumper cables, blankets, water, snacks, reflective triangles, and a first aid kit.
  2. Plan your route ahead of time. Online mapping services make it easy to plan your route before you leave home. In addition to providing live traffic updates, you’ll also be able to avoid road closures or areas with heavy congestion. In some cases, taking back roads or alternate routes—especially during peak travel season—can help you shave hours off your trip while also keeping you away from congestion and the increased risks of accidents that are associated with heavy traffic volumes.
  3. Avoid distractions. It can be difficult to stay completely focused on the road when you’re traveling for the holidays, especially if you’re driving with a car full of family members. Make sure children and other passengers use headphones if they listen to music or watch movies, and use rest stops and bathroom breaks as opportunities to make phone calls or send text messages. If you need to look up directions or change your route, appoint someone else in your vehicle to use a GPS or smartphone.
  4. Be prepared to encounter inclement weather. Whether it’s heavy downpours or blinding snow, the months of November and December can bring inclement weather to many parts of the country, including Tennessee and the Southeast. Equipping your vehicle with all-weather tires and new windshield wipers can help you drive in bad weather conditions, as can brushing up on your driving skills. Be ready to act quickly if you hydroplane or lose control on ice, and don’t be hesitant to stop if weather conditions are too dangerous to continue your drive.
  5. Take breaks as needed. It can be tempting to drive in marathon sessions to shorten trips, especially if you’re trying to get to a family gathering on time. But driving for long periods without taking breaks can be dangerous. You may fall victim to highway hypnosis, causing you to lose focus on the road or even fall asleep. Leaving early to give yourself plenty of time to make it to your destination and stopping every two hours or every 100 miles can help you stay alert, refreshed, and focused on your drive.
  6. Arrange alternative transportation if you’ve consumed alcohol. Alcohol is commonplace at holiday parties and family get-togethers, but consuming it can significantly increase the risk of an accident. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause drivers to experience blurred vision, poor judgment, and delayed reactions. Make sure to appoint a designated driver before you head to a gathering where alcohol will be served. If you don’t have one, call a cab or use a ridesharing service to get home safely.

If you’re traveling by plane, be careful driving to and from the airport. Traffic can be heavy, and accidents can occur where you least expect them—including airport parking lots. Be cautious when walking into airport terminals, as heavy traffic can make it more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.

Matt Hardin Law Is Here to Help after Holiday Accidents

If you or someone you love was injured in an auto accident over the holidays or at any other time during the year, it’s important to get an experienced law firm on your side right away. Evidence can quickly disappear, and insurance companies can begin building their cases to reduce or deny you the payments you deserve.

Matt Hardin Law’s team of Nashville car accident lawyers has 30 years of experience assisting victims who were hurt in crashes that were caused by other drivers’ negligence, and we know what it takes to build successful claims that get results.

We know that you’re facing expensive medical bills that you may not be able to afford, especially if your accident put you or a loved one out of work for weeks, months, or even years. We’ll work hard to make sure the insurance company knows how the accident has and will affect your family, including lost income and future medical expenses. It’s our goal to help our clients get the money they deserve and not the “lowball” settlements that insurance companies are eager to offer innocent victims like you.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can assist your family. Just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online form. We’re here to help.