7 Tips for Staying Safe on Ohio’s Roads During the Holiday Season
When you make plans to hit the road during the holidays, you expect to make it safely to your destination. You expect to be able to spend the holidays with your friends or loved ones, and when the holidays are over, you expect to be able to make it safely back home.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. No matter how safely you drive, there are many factors that are beyond your control. From drunk and distracted drivers to hazardous road conditions, numerous issues can put you in a situation where you are unable to avoid a serious accident. When this happens, it is important to put an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer on your side.
Protecting Yourself (and Your Loved Ones) from Dangerous Drivers During the Holidays
While you may not be able to protect yourself entirely, there are steps you can take to help keep yourself (and your loved ones) as safe as possible. Here are seven tips for staying safe on Ohio’s roads during the holiday season:
1. Know Where You’re Going
When traveling for the holidays, it is a good idea not to rely solely on your GPS. Whether you are traveling to a family member’s house or checking out a new store to shop for decorations or gifts, take a look at your route before you leave home. Not only will this help you keep your eyes on the road, but it will also help you be ready for unfamiliar intersections, merging zones and other high-risk areas.
2. Know the Weather Forecast
While it’s always a good idea to check the weather before you set out on a long trip, it is especially important to check the weather during the winter months in Ohio. If you are going to encounter snow, sleet or ice on your route, you may want to consider starting your trip on a different day. Remember, even if you are confident driving in bad weather, most people aren’t—but this won’t necessarily stop them from trying to get where they want to be for the holidays.
3. Leave Early (if Possible)
Another way you can help keep yourself and your passengers safe during your holiday travels is to leave early (if possible). If you have plenty of time to get to your destination, you won’t feel as stressed, and you won’t feel as pressured to make good time. Feeling stressed or anxious can impact your driving—whether you realize it or not—and in some cases it can lead to poor decisions that increase the risk of being involved in an accident.
4. Leave Your Phone Alone
Using your phone while driving increases your accident risk significantly. Not only are you more likely to cause an accident, but you are also less likely to see a dangerous situation in time to avoid a collision. With this in mind, when you are driving during the holiday season, it is best to leave your phone alone. Turn off your notifications so that you aren’t tempted to check for texts or updates, and if you absolutely need to check in, find a safe place to park before picking up your phone.
5. Make Sure You Have Plenty of Rest for Your Trip
While the holiday season is supposed to be a time to relax, many people find themselves even busier than usual. Between planning meals, shopping and still trying to work as many hours as possible, the holiday season is a time when many people experience higher-than-normal fatigue.
Driving while fatigued can be dangerous. Studies have shown that fatigue can have impairing effects similar to those of low-level alcohol intoxication. So, before you hit the road, try to make sure you get plenty of rest—and if you feel yourself getting tired behind the wheel, take a break to give your mind and body time to recover.
6. Watch Out for Signs of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents. While texting behind the wheel is against the law in Ohio, texting is among the most common factors in these accidents. While you might not be able to see that a driver ahead of or behind you is texting, you can watch out for warning signs that other motorists in your vicinity are distracted, including:
- Drifting from one side of the driver’s lane to the other
- Slowing down for no reason
- Braking harshly instead of gradually slowing down
7. Watch Out for Signs of Drunk Driving
Similarly, while driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime in Ohio, far too many people still choose to drink and drive. Drunk driving is especially a concern during the holiday season. If you encounter any other motorists who appear to be drunk, you should give them plenty of buffer. Some of the most common signs of drunk driving include:
- Failing to maintain a consistent speed
- Swerving or driving onto the shoulder of the road
- Running red lights and stop signs
What to Do After a Car Accident During the Holidays in Ohio
While following these tips can help you stay safe on Ohio’s roads during the holiday season, as we said above, it simply isn’t possible to protect yourself (and your loved ones) entirely. With this in mind, in addition to focusing on driving as safely as you can, it is also important to know what to do in the event of a car accident during the holidays. If you find yourself dealing with a car accident in Ohio, you should:
- Call 911 from the scene of the accident
- Make sure you (and your loved ones) get any necessary emergency medical care
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene (if possible)
- Write down as many details about the accident as you can remember
- Get help from an experienced Columbus personal injury lawyer
Speak with a Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer at Malek & Malek Law Firm
At Malek & Malek Law Firm, we help victims and their families after serious car accidents in Ohio. If you need help after an accident during the holiday season, you can call 888-444-7440 or contact us online for a free consultation with a Columbus personal injury lawyer.