The holidays are right around the corner, and if you are running errands, you need to be safe. In particular, roadside safety is especially important in light of the state’s rising car accident tallies. According to Connecticut’s Department of Transportation, car accidents have risen by as much as 16%.
As snow falls on Connecticut roads and highways, you can expect the rate of car accidents to go up. Snow contributes to unsafe road surfaces, as well as limited visibility, especially at night.
Luckily, there are concrete and easy steps you can take to ensure that you do not end up as a roadside statistic. Here are seven highway safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road during the holidays.
1. When Impaired, Do Not Drive
The first step to avoiding a roadside incident is prevention. One of the ways you can avert disaster on the road is by not driving if you are not in a condition to do so.
Snow and slippery surfaces can make driving more challenging than when done on a warm sunny day. Navigating slippery roads will require you to have excellent control of the accelerator. As well, you will need impeccable reaction time should a situation call for an abrupt turn or stop.
The above tip also applies to the older members of your family. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a fifth of people over the age of 65 will have some sort of medical issue. These issues, such as vision problems, can make driving dangerous, especially during the winter.
Driving in an impaired state may also add to your liabilities in case of an accident. One of the things Connecticut highway accident lawyers will try to establish is liability. If it is found that you were aware of your impairments but drove anyway, this can be used against you.
In short, drive only when you are able. When in doubt, hand the wheel over to someone else.
2. Drive with a Light Foot on the Accelerator and Brakes
The holidays occur during a time of year when the roads are slippery. With reduced traction, wheels can slide, causing your car to move farther than you intend it to. When this happens, you risk being involved in a collision.
To prevent this, it is best to exercise caution when using the accelerator. Rather than keeping your foot on the gas pedal, you will be safer by stepping on it only when necessary.
Slamming the brakes is also not advised when you need to make a sudden stop. Doing this will not help, especially if you were traveling at high speed. The best thing to do if you need to avoid something on the road is to steer your vehicle to a safe place instead.
This brings us to the next tip.
3. Steer Your Vehicle towards the Shoulder If You Need to Make a Sudden Stop
As mentioned in the previous tip, slamming on the brakes when it is icy out will only lead to more danger. If you need to make a sudden stop, it is best to steer towards a safer place. On Connecticut highways, this safe area is none other than the shoulder.
Steering your vehicle towards the shoulder allows you to stop at a pace that minimizes damage to your vehicle. Doing so will also prevent you from colliding with another vehicle. In addition, you will also minimize causing additional traffic problems once roadside assistance arrives.
4. Drive Only When Conditions Are Favorable
Driving when there is a snowstorm can be unsafe due to road conditions and the lack of visibility. For this reason, you should only drive when weather conditions permit you to do so.
Safe weather conditions do not need to be snow-free days. The weather during winter can still be safe for driving if there is enough visibility and light.
Before heading out, always check the weather. This will help you plan your speed and trip accordingly.
5. Keep Children in the Back and in Their Car Seats
As per the CDC’s recommendations on child safety, no child below the age of 13 should sit in the front passenger seat. Instead, children should sit in the rear seats (and they should be in appropriate car seats if they are young enough).
Car seats can go a long way in ensuring the safety of your young passengers. The CDC emphasizes that a car seat can reduce a child’s injury risk by as much as 85% in the event of an accident.
For children that do not need a car seat, ensure that they are buckled in with their seat belts throughout the trip.
6. Maintain Distance from Other Vehicles on the Highway
According to the Red Cross, motorists on the highway need to keep a safe distance from other vehicles in order to stay safe. There are two reasons for this.
The first reason relates to maneuverability. With the right amount of space, you will be able to change direction and pull over without hitting the vehicle in front of you.
The second reason involves how tailgating affects the other driver. Drivers do not like being tailed or followed closely. Hence, if you move too close, the other driver may panic, either accelerating or turning suddenly.
During the holidays when it may be snowing, sudden movements or changes in speed and direction on the road can lead to accidents. You can prevent this by not driving too closely behind the vehicle ahead of you.
7. Stay Attentive
Road visibility can be a limiting factor for many drivers during the holidays. For this reason, your full attention needs to be on the road and nowhere else.
When driving, avoid distractions like looking at your cell phone. If your dashboard is equipped with a GPS monitor, only glance at it when necessary but avoid staring at it for too long. Many GPS monitors will inform you of directions without having to look at the monitor.
Drive Safely this Holiday Season
The holidays are a time for celebration. Of course, to get the most out of the season, you need to make it safely to wherever you plan on going via Connecticut’s highways. Follow these seven highway safety tips, and you will be celebrating with your loved ones in no time.
Car accidents occur in Connecticut, with most being on highways. Connecticut auto accident lawyers can help you seek compensation for damages.
If you need experienced highway accident lawyers, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers.