By: Trial Attorney Keith Trantolo
Holiday Greetings from all of us at Trantolo & Trantolo! We know the importance of being with those we love and care about, but we first have to get to our destinations safely. A few words on safe holiday travel.
Prepare Your Vehicle
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for travel. That means more and more vehicles will be on the road at the same time, which inevitably leads to stress and frustration for everyone in the car. We want to remind you to make your trip a safe one.
Be prepared and take the necessary steps to make your trip easy and safe. Getting your vehicle properly prepared for the drive ahead is simple and can save you time, money and a lot of frustration.
First, check your tire pressure and tread. Tires present a danger most people don’t usually think about. When we see pieces of blown tire on the highways, most people aren’t concerned this will happen to them. This deadly incident can be avoided with simple maintenance. Make sure your tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations before you travel. Slipping and sliding is something we all dread, but this can be avoided with cautious driving and good tires.
Perform scheduled maintenance, like oil and filter changes. Check the antifreeze, battery, brakes, exhaust, heaters and oil several days before you plan to head out on the holiday road trip. Also check all your lights and signals are working properly. If your vehicle is in proper working order, your trip will be safer and easier.
Check the integrity of your wiper blades. Again, this might not be something drivers often think about, until it’s too late. Good wipers can make all the difference in a winter storm. It is a rather inexpensive remedy to what can become a serious problem. Also, be sure to replace the windshield wiper fluid, so it is suitable for winter conditions.
Make sure you have the right directions to your destination. Program your car’s navigation system before you start driving. Keep your cell phone locked away in the glove compartment or in a purse until you have safely arrived at your destination.
Always be over-prepared. Carry a tool kit, first aid kit, jumper cables, small shovel and flashlight in the vehicle at all times. It’s also a good idea to bring some warm blankets, water and non-perishable snacks, just in case you become stranded during bad weather. In an emergency situation, Murphy’s Law says you will only need what you don’t have. If you have everything, chances are you won’t need it at all.
If you have kids, have some form of entertainment for the ride. Playing games that involve everyone can pass the time and keep families interacting together. Entertainment doesn’t have to be videos or portable gaming consoles!
Watch Out for Other Drivers
This holiday season, there will be drivers on the road whose concern is not the safety of others. Each year, thousands are killed by inattentive drivers and those numbers only increase when there are more vehicles out during the holiday season.
Distracted driving is deadly. When you are driving, whether talking or texting on a cell phone, eating or drinking, programming a GPS, adjusting the radio or disciplining the kids, you are not driving safely. As an operator, you need every bit of concentration on the road, especially when there are so many others on the road with you.
If you are not alone on your trip, designate a navigator who can handle the music, the directions, the food and drink and the kids. That way, the driver can devote all their concentration on getting everyone to the destination safely.
As far as other drivers, be aware of those who are less-than-attentive to their surroundings and avoid them safely. Be on the lookout for drivers using cell phones or GPS devices, drivers weaving in and out of lanes, and those generally not paying attention to what’s around them. Give these drivers a wide berth and let speeding drivers pass.
Getting you and your family to your destination safely is priority number one. Be well rested and give yourself plenty of time to get packed and on the road. I suggest packing the vehicle the night before you plan to leave and using a checklist to ensure you have everything you need.
Unfortunately, traffic will always be there. You can plan alternate routes but chances are, you’ll be stuck in traffic at one point or another. If you anticipate traffic, it can be less stressful.
Use multiple drivers and take turns. Take breaks for food, drink and some fresh air. If you have children, be conscious of their tolerance and take breaks accordingly.
Holiday road trips are full of family bonding and create lasting memories for years to come. From our family to yours, have a wonderful and safe holiday season! Just remember to be prepared, take your time and get there safe.