Safe Holiday Driving Tips

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Tis the Season… not for Accidents
When you think of holiday driving, do you imagine a trip to grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner or visiting the family for a white Christmas? Maybe you're thinking of a big Fourth of July shindig in the summer or a Memorial Day meetup? No matter what gets you out in your car for holiday driving, more people are on the roads and that means there's a higher chance for a mishap. Always stay alert and take proper precautions when holiday driving. Inclement weather combined with heavy traffic means more potential accidents. And whenever people party, there's a higher chance you'll come across a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to AAA, over 48 million Americans will take to the roads this holiday season. With all that in mind, here are a few tips to keep you safe when driving during the holidays.

Let Lithia Help

Before you and your family head out for a little holiday fun, check your car. Winter is hard on cars because of cold and inclement weather. There is salt, ice, sand and slush on the roads to deal with. Have your car serviced at a Lithia Motors dealer. Have your battery checked and the oil changed, have the antifreeze and lights checked, and make sure your car's brakes and tires are ready to get you where you're going.

Check your spare tire and car jack in case you have a flat. Make sure to carry jumper cables. It's also a good idea to carry an Emergency Kit in the trunk. Your kit should include a flashlight, reflective road triangles, a first aid kit, nonperishable high energy foods such as nuts and dried fruit, drinking water, a car charger for your cell phone, a fire extinguisher, a rain poncho, and a few blankets. You can't be too careful.

Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected

The number one most important thing to remember before you take your family and head out on the road this holiday season is to practice safe driving. Take a few minutes to calm yourself before you fasten your seat belt, make sure everyone in the car is secure, and turn on your car.
Think of the other drivers on the road. They are trying to get someplace special as well. They may very well be stressed and distracted. Stay calm and take your time. Give yourself extra time to get where you're going so you won't be tempted to speed. Don't use your smartphone to make calls or text while driving. Especially in winter weather, take extra time when you come to a stop sign or signal.
Stay alert at all times and proceed with caution. Allow a little extra distance between you and the car in front of you. Be magnanimous and allow other cars to merge into your lane in front of you. If someone is tailgating you, let them pass. Don't compete with aggressive drivers. It's not worth losing your cool.
Part of staying alert while driving has to do with avoiding road fatigue. Make sure to get a good night's sleep before a long road trip. Take your time and stop to take breaks, get a snack, and share driving chores if possible. If you are tired of driving, use rest stops. Even a few minutes of walking with rejuvenate you.

Give Yourself Extra Time
Traffic and a change in weather can throw a wrench in your estimated travel time. Use your GPS to map alternative routes when necessary and keep maps in the car in case your cell phone service fails. Check the weather forecast before you leave on your trip. Remember that bridges and overpasses freeze before the rest of the road and learn how to spot black ice. Drive slowly and carefully in poor weather. Bring along snow chains in the winter. Go Treads are a great way to get your vehicle unstuck in snow, mud, or sand.
Snow can slow travel to a crawl. If you have kids in the car, you'll be a lot calmer when they are calmer too. Bring some snacks and games for them to play to keep them entertained. There's nothing wrong with a good old holiday sing-along in the car and remembering all the road games you played as a kid. Oh, you didn't play road games? Well, here are a few that can help save your sanity on long drives:
I'm going on a trip
You say that you are going on a trip and you are bringing along something that starts with the letter "A". The next person adds something that starts with a letter "B" etc.
I Spy
This one is easy. You look outside the car and say... "I spy with my little eye, something that is green." The person who gets the right answer takes the next turn.
Who Am I?
A guessing game where players use yes or no answers to guess the name of a famous person.
Don't Drink and Drive
If you are planning on drinking at a holiday event, DO NOT drink and drive. Make plans for a taxi or Uber or have a designated driver. Even if you just have to drive a few miles, do not be behind the wheel of a vehicle if you have had a drink. Over 10,000 people die due to drunk driving every year. You could die, or you could kill an innocent person, maybe even a family member. It's easy enough to get a ride if you have been drinking. Just don't do it. Ever.
Lithia Cares
Did you know that between 36,000 and 40,000 Americans die on our roadways each year? Many of those fatalities could be avoided by following the tips in this article. Lithia Motors cares about you. We want to take care of all your personal transportation needs and keep you as a customer for life. So be safe when you're driving and have a wonderful holiday season.