More car accidents happen between Thanksgiving and New Year's than at any other time of the year. Drinking, feeling time pressured, experiencing rage when facing traffic jams, and being distracted by a busy season of festivities can lead to deadly consequences. Keep these cautions in mind to ensure you drive safely and legally during the holidays.
1. Never drive after drinking and always assume that others on the road may be drunk. When socializing with friends and family, decide in advance who will be the designated driver and make sure he or she stays sober. If you are a party host, have a non-alcoholic beverage on hand for all designated drivers. And don’t let any guest leave a party with a driver whose judgment seems impaired. Be sure to talk to your teenager before he or she heads to a holiday gathering to make sure there is a plan for how to get home safely. Either there needs to be a designated driver who will stay sober throughout the night or your teen needs to have the phone number of a car service or an Uber or Lyft app for the return ride home.
2. Give yourself extra time when traveling. Most of us are even more rushed than usual during the holidays and don’t leave ourselves enough time to get from place to place. It's a given that there are plenty of grid alert days in New York City between Thanksgiving and New Year's and suburban roads and highways are also more traffic jammed. Plan for delays so you don't need to feel frantic about arriving on time. Giving yourself added time will prevent you from feeling the impulse to drive beyond speed limits and enable you to be more alert to other drivers who may be intoxicated, highly impatient and a menace on the road.
3. Don’t text or talk on the phone while driving. Take advantage of new phone apps that prevent you from getting notifications while driving. If you need to connect with friends or family about plans, contact them before you get on the road. And, if you'll be taking a long road trip, stop at gas stations or fast food restaurants to make your calls or send your texts.
4. Navigate parking lots and garages with caution. Holiday shoppers are in a rush which means parking lots become even more dangerous as cars pull out in a hurry. If you can, park on the outskirts of a lot where there will be fewer cars pulling in and out. And, no matter where you’re parked, look behind you as you pull out of a spot and drive slowly through the garage or lot, so you can be on the alert for those who are pulling out.
5. Stay calm and focus on enjoying the spirit of the holidays. Rather than get stressed about gift shopping, party hopping, or family feuds during holiday get-togethers, try to stay zen and appreciate the fortune of celebrating yet another of holidays with family, friends, and colleagues.