The holiday season in 2017 alone saw record numbers of over 107 million Americans traveling at least 50 miles away from home to visit friends and loved ones. If trends continue as planned, 2018 will be the tenth consecutive year for holiday travel growth nationwide. Holiday festivities can be fun and magical, but they can also be quite stressful and dangerous. This is especially the case in Michigan where the average annual snowfall reaches 76 inches. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective tips you can implement to avoid a winter car crash and do your part to help ensure everyone gets to focus on the joy of the holiday season.
Prepare and Check Your Vehicle
Avoiding a winter car crash begins before actually getting on the road. Make sure your car has a proper tune-up to reach your destination safely. Top off all fluids, check those belts and hoses, and check the condition and pressure of those winter tires. Keep an essential roadside repair kit in the trunk just in case it’s needed. And pack extra blankets, chargers, games, snacks, and emergency numbers in case you need to inform loved ones of detours or delays along the way.
Be Sure to Buckle Up
Car accidents are the main cause of early life fatalities under the age of 30. While accidents can’t be completely controlled, the decision to wear your seatbelt can determine whether you’re more likely to suffer injuries or become a fatal statistic. Seatbelts may not be comfortable at times, especially when wearing heavy winter gear, but they do reduce serious injuries by 50% and fatalities by 45%. In fact, those who don’t wear seatbelts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from their car during a collision. So play it safe and buckle up.
Turn Up the Focus and Turn Down the Distractions
Distracted driving is a major concern during any season, but it’s especially dangerous when weather and extra alcohol can play a part of the holiday havoc. Phones and other mobile devices play a huge part in the distractions, so put your phones and devices in a pocket, purse, or suitcase until you reach your destination. If GPS is needed, set it before you leave or have a passenger control the route. Minimize radio controls, pull over to eat or drink, and insist on as little passenger interaction as possible so you can focus on the road.
Leave the Ego at Home and Slow Down
Over 70% of the nation’s roads are located in the coldest climates, and 70% of Americans live in those locations. Highway speeds reduce by up to 13% during a light snowfall and up to 40% during heavy snow periods. So plan accordingly. Leave early to account for the extra traveling or traffic time and prepare to slow down. Snow melts on busy roads, leaving behind black ice. So no driver, regardless of personal experience of vehicle type, is immune to losing control in wet or icy conditions. Implementing the above tips can help ensure you get to your destination safely. But if you still need help, contact a Michigan car accident attorney for your needs.