During the holidays, tens of thousands of Floridians hit the road or get on a bus or airplane to travel and visit with loved ones. This is a tradition that we look forward to each year and cherish. Because of COVID-19, things will not be quite the same this year. In the interest of safety, there are some that will decide against traveling and opt for “virtual” visits instead.
For those who are planning to be driving during this holiday season, the roads are still likely to be very busy. Be ready for heavy traffic at times, long lines at fast food places, and allow yourself plenty of time to travel to your destination. Also be sure to follow other best safety practices in order to help ensure a smooth trip:
Get your Vehicle in Order
Before you head out on the road, make sure your car is ready for a long trip. Take your car in to get checked out by a mechanic, and look specifically at the following areas:
- The amount of tread left on your tires.
- Whether or not you are due for an oil change.
- The condition of your spark plugs and the need for a tune up.
- The charging capability of your battery.
- The condition of your wiper blades.
- Any other issues that your mechanic points out.
Plan for Emergencies
Have a plan to deal with an emergency, such as getting stuck on the road, and put together an emergency kit. In your kit, you should consider including the following items:
- Jumper cables
- Road flares
- A warm blanket
- A first-aid kit
- Snacks and drinks
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- An extra gallon of coolant
- A general toolkit
- A fire extinguisher
In addition to a roadside emergency kit, you should also subscribe to an emergency roadside assistance service. Most auto insurers offer this service as a policy add-on for a few dollars per month. Or you can obtain more comprehensive coverage from a third-party provider (such as AAA) for less than $100 per year. Once you have confirmed who your emergency roadside assistance provider is, write down their phone number and keep it in a place that is easily accessible. You might also want to load their number into the contact list on your cell phone.
Get Plenty of Rest Before Driving
Driving while drowsy or fatigued is very dangerous and can lead to an auto accident. To help ensure that you will not get drowsy or sleepy behind the wheel, make sure to get an adequate amount of sleep before setting off on a long trip. The average adult should have at least seven hours of sleep before driving. If you are planning to have a teen do some of the driving, they should have at least eight hours of sleep.
Plan your Route Ahead of Time
Plan out your driving route before you leave. Figure out what roads you will be taking and how long it will take to get to your destination. Be sure to give yourself plenty of extra time for stops and to account for slowdowns due to heavy traffic or road construction. As you prepare to head out, keep a close eye on the weather report.
In Florida and the surrounding states, winter weather is not nearly as brutal as up north. But even if you are staying in this region of the country, you might still run into heavy rain, winds, and even some icy roads. Check on the weather and if necessary, plan an alternate route that will help you avoid dangerous driving conditions.
With so many people out on the road rushing to get to where they are going, you will be dealing with a lot of aggressive drivers. The best way to counter this is to drive as defensively as possible and stay alert for potential dangers. Along the same lines, avoid any unnecessary distractions such as messaging on your cell phone. If you have any passengers, let them handle your phone while you are driving.
Stay Safe during Stops
As you stop along the way for fuel, food, and restroom breaks, you will be touching a lot of surfaces that have been touched by numerous others who have passed through. In previous years, you may not have thought about this all that much. But with COVID-19 still out there, we need to be continually vigilant and do everything possible to protect ourselves.
Bring plenty of antibacterial hand sanitizer along, and always use it whenever you go into public. In addition, follow the other recommended safety guidelines, such as frequent hand washing, wearing face coverings while indoors, and social distancing.
Injured in a Car Accident during the Holidays? Contact an Experienced Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney
From all of us at Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett, we wish you a safe and joyous holiday season. Whether you decide to do it remotely or in-person, be sure to take time out this year to be with those closest to you and enjoy their company.
As you travel, things might not always go according to plan. Even if you follow the best safety practices, you cannot control the actions of other drivers on the road. If you or a loved one happens to get in an auto accident during the holidays, our legal team is here and ready to go to work for you. Get in touch with us online or call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 for a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.