The holidays are a joyful time of festivities and family bonding. As one of the busiest times of the year, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate the potential risks that can turn jolly memory-making to the stuff of nightmares. With 48.5 million drivers hitting the road this Thanksgiving, make sure you stay alert while driving and always consult with a Sacramento car accident attorney in the event an accident does occur.
During the holiday season, travel increases significantly. Between all the parties and visiting Grandma, families are spending a lot of time in their car in potentially inclement weather. It’s important to consider the dangers that are especially prevalent during this period.
Don’t Drink and Drive
You may think “I would never!” or “Of course, that’s obvious,” but the fact is that drunk driving increases greatly during this family-friendly season. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average number of people killed in drunk-driving incidents is 36. During the holiday season, this number spikes to 45 fatalities.
It’s no wonder drinking and driving rises during this period – it’s our one reprieve during the winter chill for getting together and celebrating with loved ones. But there are ways to engage in the festivities without becoming a perpetrator or victim of drunk driving. Below are some tips to avoid drunk driving incidents but make sure to contact a Sacramento car accident attorney if you’ve been in an accident.
- Designate a sober driver – Perhaps you have an underage child that will join you at your festivities. As he or she can’t legally partake, it makes sense to have them drive you home after a few too many eggnogs. If you don’t have children that fit this role, take turns with your spouse or carpool with other family members or friends.
- Choose sparking water – Want to join the fun but need to drive later? Choose sparkling water, non-alcoholic eggnog, or other non-alcoholic options. This will keep others from offering you a drink and allow you to join the fun while keeping your wits about you.
- Stay the night – While not always an option, staying off the road after dark can decrease your chances of being in a drunk driving car collision. Since the sun sets before you are probably leaving your house for the party, this can be difficult to accomplish. The later the hour, the more likely you are to come into contact with a drunk driver. If you are visiting family or close friends, it may be wise to sleep on their couch or in their spare room if it’s gotten late or you’ve had more to drink than you intended.
- Ask for a ride – If you can’t stay with your host and no one else in your carpool is able to drive, don’t be afraid to ask for a ride or to stay at a friends’ house. Be sure to ask someone you trust.
If, even after you’ve applied all your due diligence and still get in an accident, call a Sacramento car accident attorney immediately to learn what your legal options are.
Prepare for the Weather
The weather can change quickly and unexpectedly. Be sure you know how to behave in all weather you may come across. Follow the tips below to ensure you’re doing all you can to drive safely:
- Be sure your tires are properly inflated – Cold weather can condense the air in your tires. Be sure to check for tire pressure as the temperature drops and visit your local gas station for a top-off.
- Don’t mix radial tires with other types of tires – Mixing tires, especially across axles, decreases the control and stability of a car, making it more likely to get in a car collision during inclement weather.
- Keep your gas half full – During the chilly winter months, condensation may form on the inside of your gas tank where there is no gasoline. This condensation may freeze and create icy blockages that result in problems with starting your car. Keeping your tank half full or more can prevent this.
- Don’t use the emergency brake during the winter – Though they are housed in a protective line, emergency brakes make freeze up when it’s cold enough, making it impossible to disengage the brakes. Under no circumstances should you drive your car with the emergency brake engaged. You will have to wait it out or use some other creative means. It’s best not to park on an incline and to avoid using them.
- Do not use cruise control when there is a chance of slipping – If there is a chance that part of the road may be slippery, from ice, sand, or another substance, do not use the cruise control. Cruise control can make hydroplaning (when your tires can’t gain traction on the road) all the more dangerous. When the car loses traction, the cruise control will try to accelerate, making hydroplaning worse. Your instinct may be to engage the brakes, but without anti-lock brakes, this will also make the hydroplaning worse. Even if you have anti-lock brakes, braking while you’re spinning out may result in flipping the car.
Above all, make sure to stay alert and relax. Though the increase of drivers on the road can make for more stressful situations, it’s always best to keep a positive attitude and plan your journey ahead of time. Frustration can lead to poor decisions and risky behavior, resulting in car accidents. If you have been in an accident, don’t wait to call a Sacramento car accident attorney.
Contact a Sacramento Car Accident Attorney Today
With over 20 years of experience providing exceptional legal service to residents throughout Northern California, you can trust the team at The Weinberger Law Firm for all your legal needs. If you have been in an accident, whether during the holidays or not, make sure to give us a call at (916) 299-8131 to speak to a Sacramento car accident attorney.