Holiday Driving Safety

December 01, 2023
Holiday Driving Safety

The Holidays are the busiest travel time of the year. People look forward to the fun and excitement of the holiday season and all the events it entails.  But holiday driving safety can be challenging.  There is increased traffic, increased nighttime driving, driving to unfamiliar locations, and winter weather to contend with.  So what are some things you can do to increase holiday driving safety?  Here are five tips to help you successfully navigate this season:

Holiday Driving Safety Tip #1:  Plan Ahead

Before you start your trip, whether it be across town or across country, look at the weather forecast and be prepared for upcoming weather conditions.  Bring sunglasses to reduce glare for sunny driving and a windshield scraper for snow and ice.  Make plans to avoid driving in rain, fog, snow or at night.  Plan your route, mapping it out so you can anticipate any difficult turns or intersections.   Think about traffic patterns and time your trip to avoid heavy traffic times of day.  Familiarize yourself with alternative routes and allot enough time to take a longer route if necessary to increase holiday driving safety.

Holiday Driving Safety Tip #2:  Perform Good Maintenance – On Your Car and On Yourself!

Make sure your vehicle is in good shape for travel. Because the last thing you want to have happen during holiday travel is car trouble.  Have your car serviced regularly and check the air pressure and tread on the tires.  Make sure you have a functional spare tire and know that spares have a maximum speed of 50 mph and shouldn't be driven for more than 70.

Not only is regular maintenance important for your car, but it is important for you too.  Good eyesight is critical to safe driving. If you cannot see clearly, you cannot judge distances or spot trouble. You also will not be able to make quick judgments.  So make sure to have your vision tested and eyeglasses updated regularly.

Good hearing is another key factor in holiday driving safety.  Sometimes hearing is the first alert to driving danger.  Oftentimes you hear emergency vehicle sirens before you see them.  This alerts you to slow down and be ready to pull over.  Other times, you may hear a vehicle coming before you see it because of blind spots or looking in another direction.  Have your hearing check and get appropriate hearing aides to maximize your holiday driving safety.

Holiday Driving Safety Tip #3: Stay Rested And Alert

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the holidays and over-do it, pace yourself.  Know what your limits are and make sure to plan for rest breaks in your schedule.  Say no to activities that involve lots of preparation or stress.  If you are traveling, make sure you’re well-rested before a long drive. Plan to stop and take a break every several hours to keep alert.  Bring a buddy who can take turns diving with you.  Anticipate that heavier traffic will mean you need to leave earlier.  And if you do get stuck in traffic, plan to arrive late but safe.  Don’t be tempted to speed to make up for lost time.

Holiday Driving Safety Tip #4:  Drive Defensively

Increased holiday traffic can be exasperating and cause tempers to flare.  Let impatient and aggressive drivers pass you or go through the intersection ahead of you so that you can keep a safe distance between your car and the car ahead of you.  If you get too close to the car in front, you won't be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.

Holiday Driving Safety Tip #5: Avoid Distractions

According to, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. At 55 mph, that’s enough time to travel the distance of an entire football field. But it’s not just cell phones that distract us.  New high-tech car features, although very helpful if used properly, can be very distracting if you are trying to use them while you are driving.  Connecting to blue tooth or entering your destination into a navigation system takes your focus away from the road.  And driving requires your full attention.  So if you get a message or you need to use a high-tech feature while driving, pull off and park when attending to something other than driving.

Getting together with family and friends to share good times and good memories is a cherished holiday tradition.  But sometimes even careful planning and careful driving strategies can’t compensate for changes in memory or reaction time.  If you are concerned that a loved one is no longer safe to drive, we can help.  Our Driving Rehabilitation specialists will perform an objective evaluation and work with you to determine the best plan for driving safety.  Give us a call today.