How to stay safe on the roads this winter

December 22, 2014 10:50 PM
The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year for travel. Whether you're embarking on a massive road trip or planning to party hop around your own town, you need to be ready to handle anything that comes your way. Not only does that mean your car must be operating at a high level, but it also signifies that you need to keep a few helpful strategies in mind. Here are five ways you can stay safe on the roads during the holiday season. Use headlights You need to see and be seen on the roads if you want to stay safe. While you may have keen eyesight that can spot other drivers or potential obstacles long before you reach them, others might not be as lucky. Instead of putting your trust in strangers, do your best to make your vehicle visible. Always use headlights, even during the day, and don't be afraid to use wide or high beams if you find yourself on a dark, secluded road. If it's been a while since you switched on these lights, have a professional check and make sure they're working properly as part of standard vehicle maintenance. Practice defensive driving Overly aggressive or hotheaded drivers can wreak havoc on your safety. Instead of putting yourself directly in their path, be a defensive driver. There's going to be traffic in all corners of the country, but by being courteous and cognizant of others, you can keep yourself out of precarious situations. Simple actions such as letting people merge in front of you, slowing down to let a car pass or staying out of obvious blind spots can help keep everyone safer and friendlier. Spring for a tune up It's never too late to care for your car. Make sure yours is getting the attention it deserves by setting up scheduled maintenance at a local auto repair franchise. Experts will know exactly what to check before a road trip, and they can also provide the most thorough fixes for any existing problems. Even one quick appointment has the potential to save a lot of time and money later on, so make sure you prioritize car care. A standard inspection of safety features, the engine and the tires should be sufficient. Make technology work for you Too much technology can cause sensory overload - not to mention it can pose a major distraction. However, there are a few ways you can use electronics safely. Start by finding a car adaptor for your cellphone. This allows you to always have a full battery, which is vital in the event you get in an accident and need to call for help. Infotainment systems should also be set up before you pull onto the highway. These programs can provide you with turn-by-turn directions and endless playlists, ensuring that you don't have to fumble with maps or music players when you should be focused on the roads. Have an emergency contact Even the most prepared of motorists can find themselves stuck on the side of the road. Inclement weather and mistakes by other drivers can quickly cause problems. AAA suggested all drivers carry a phone number for roadside assistance in case of emergency. Additionally, scope out friends, family members or nearby hotels as you plan your route. You don't have to make stops at these locations, but knowing you have someone you can call for a ride or a place to spend the night if your car fails can make all the difference.​
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