NEW YORK. According to USA Today, during the holiday season alone, 27,900 Americans will be injured in car crashes, and another 300 will die. During the holiday season, more people hit the road, leading to greater car accident injury risk. In addition to more traffic on the road, more drivers might be fatigued or be driving while drunk. Other drivers may be traveling unfamiliar routes or relying on GPS. All of these factors can make roads more dangerous. While many people will fly, others will be hitting the road to see family and loved ones. Combine more traffic, the stress to get to a destination on time, and add to that foul weather, and you have a malevolent recipe for a car accident. So, what can you do before you hit the road this holiday season? Here are some holiday travel tips from Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein, L.L.P. personal injury lawyers in New York.
- Check your car’s maintenance. Poor tire pressure can increase your risk of a deadly blow out or increase the chance that you’ll lose control of your vehicle while driving. Check your tire pressure and fill up your tires before you go. If you encounter frosty weather, you’ll want to make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid. It can’t hurt to change the oil and take your car in for a tune up before you head out, too.
- Pack an emergency kit. According to CNN, you should absolutely have a first aid kit, jumper cables, and an ice scraper. If you can, you should also bring cat litter or sand to give you traction should your car get stuck. Pack warm clothes, blankets, and snacks to keep you warm if you do get stuck and need to wait for help. Finally, bring along an extra phone battery or charger. Relying on your car battery to charge your phone if your car battery is dead isn’t going to help you.
- Plan your route and check the weather. Avoid driving during poor weather. Even if weather is good, make sure you know your route before you travel. Distracted driving can lead to deadly accidents. And yes, checking your GPS counts as distracted driving.
- Make sure your children’s child restraint seats fit properly. If you don’t travel in the car with your children often, your children may have outgrown their car seats since you last travelled. Your child should fit the car seat and the seat should be used as the manufacturer directs. Older children may need a booster seat to ensure that their seat belt fits properly.
- Don’t drive while tired. Leaving late at night after a day of work can lead to fatigued driving. Research suggests that fatigued driving can be just as deadly as drunk driving. Make sure you are well-rested before you hit the road for a long drive.
- Don’t drink and drive. Holidays are a time when families and friends might party and drink, but if you choose to drink, don’t drive.
Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein are personal injury lawyers in New York who wish our readers a safe and happy holiday and new year. Stay safe during your travels this holiday season.