Welcome to the holidays – full of friends, festivities and fender benders. Driving safely is obviously a yearlong goal, but during this time of extra merriment, it makes sense to take extra care out on the roads. Want to avoid having to ask Santa for car accident assistance this Christmas?

Follow these tips for driving safely during the holiday season.

1. Turn the Phone Off, Drivers.

It’s been said time and time again that eliminating the distraction of incoming messages is priceless. Even if you’re not scrolling through all those text messages to learn where the next holiday party spot will be, you’re going to be tempted to look at your phone at a stoplight. Resist the temptation. After all, what horrible accidents could occur if Santa checked his messages while in flight?

2. Pay Attention to the Calendar

Don’t be a gifting procrastinator. With all the online gifting options available these days, there is absolutely no reason to put yourself in the mall melee on Christmas Eve. People out on the roads the day before Christmas are hopped up on cookies or worse – and they may not be paying enough attention to what is happening around them (namely, your car that is in their way). Avoid a car accident during the holidays by strategically avoiding high traffic areas.

3. Teach the Young Ones

Have focused conversations with your young drivers leading into December. Explain the dangers of this driving season. Make sure they know that if you catch them texting while driving, they will lose driving privileges. Also, refer to #2 and politely ask that they purchase your sure-to-be-amazing gift long before the Christmas Eve rush hits the mall.

4. Don’t Drink and Drive

Speaking of eves, let’s consider the big one. Let’s all agree to make New Year’s Eve a banner night for driving service companies. Unless you’re toasting to 2018 with a goblet of grape juice, don’t get behind the wheel. Even better, stay off the road entirely.

5. Travel Early

Headed to celebrate the holiday with family? You’re better off, statistically speaking, to travel early on Christmas Day. The few days leading up to the actual holiday have higher rates of traffic accidents. Save the stockings for when you arrive at grandma and grandpa’s house, and you’ll enjoy a road trip without much traffic in the way.

6. Beware of Holiday Driving

‘Tis the season of brotherly love – and awareness. See someone driving in zig-zag? Get away from them. Erratic holiday drivers are kind of like fruitcake: they are everywhere, and no one wants a taste.

7. Have Snacks

When did you last eat? When to-do lists get long, meals get skipped. A good holiday driver is awake and aware – not suffering from low blood sugar and an overload of eggnog. Therefore, keep an energy bar or two in the glove box. These should be viewed as ‘emergency bars,’ not candy that your children pilfer on every trip.

8. There’s an App for That

If you are planning a holiday road trip, consider using a traffic app. That way, you won’t be stuck in mind-numbing slowdowns without an end in sight. The longer you are out on the road, the higher your chance of an accident. Also, keep in mind that not even the best traffic app is infallible. Stick that old-fashioned map in your glove box. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but you never know.

9. Prepare for the Worst

Speaking of holiday road trips, we have two words for you: roadside assistance. Do you have it? Do you know the number to call? ‘Tis the season for fallibility – sometimes, remembering not to lock the keys in the car is too much to ask.

10. Be Aware

Keep in mind that cars with visible presents inside are much more likely to be stolen than those with stale fast-food wrappers littering the interior. We’re not saying to make your car interior a pigsty, but please use common sense when storing gifts. It takes seconds to transfer them to the trunk. And perhaps those seconds will make the difference when a car thief stares inside and sees nada.

May your days be merry and accident-free this holiday – and if you do experience a traffic accident, call the Attorneys at Coleman Law Group at (727) 214-0400.

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