Two words: Buckle up. We're about to enter one of the busiest times on America's roadways. In fact, not only are the roads more crowded during the Thanksgiving holiday week, they're more dangerous, too. According to the National Safety Council, Thanksgiving is the second most dangerous holiday for driving so there's no better time to make sure you and your vehicle are road-ready.
Here are my five go-to tips for ensuring a safe drive this holiday season:
- Never drink and drive. Even one drink can have an impact on your driving ability and put you and other people on the road at risk. While annual drunk driving deaths have decreased, there has been an increase in the proportion of drunk driving deaths between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to MADD. Year-round, alcohol is involved in about one-third of all accidents. Always use a designated driver.
An alarming four out of five child safety seats are used incorrectly. Make sure children are properly restrained by checking that the seat is not too loose. Make sure the retainer clip is at the child's armpit level and the harness straps are through the correct slots. And remember that children under the age of two face backward at a 45-degree angle.
- Be mindful of the warning signs of sleepiness behind the wheel: yawning excessively, missing a traffic sign, having difficulty focusing, or drifting outside of your lane.
- If you find yourself or the person driving exhibiting any of these symptoms, pull over to a safe area and take a break. Even if you don't feel fatigued, always stop to rest every 100 miles or every two hours.
- Take the scenic route to reduce eye fatigue. Traveling for long distances on straight highways requires your eyes to be held in one position and can cause eye tension. Driving on roads with trees or curves in them can cause less strain on your eyes.
While these safety reminders may seem obvious, I can't stress them enough. Ensure this holiday season is a safe one by reminding yourself and others to always follow these simple and safe rules.