We've done quite a bit on Christmas this year on our blog covering a range of topics such as how to decorate a car, the worst days to travel at Christmas and a range of other winter car care topics. In today's blog, we're going to delve into something a little more serious with a list of Christmas driver safety tips to keep you and every other motorist happy and safe on the roads this festive period.
Is Christmas the most dangerous time to drive?
It's a myth that Christmas time is the most dangerous time to drive, although it does seem logical to think that way. However, during the festive period, there are still plenty of reasons why you're more likely to have an accident than other periods during the year. Here are a few reasons why all drivers should take extra care on journeys this Christmas for you to check out
More drivers on the road
We covered this topic in much more detail in our article on the best and worst days to travel during Christmas but the jist of it is that there are more people going out to see families, doing their holiday shopping and still doing the normal work commute. More drivers on the road means a greater chance of an accident morning, noon and night.
Adverse weather conditions
The Crimbo period falls during late autumn and the beginning of Winter (22nd December) and that brings with it adverse weather such as snow, ice, black ice and rain. Battling these elements cause stress and an increased likelihood of an accident. The roads are at their worst in the morning and very late at night.
As reported by thisismoney.co.uk, there are more drink drivers on the road during the festive season than any other holiday. It goes without saying that drivers who under the influence make the roads much riskier for everyone, not just themselves.
Despite being a time to rejoice and spend time with friends and family, Christmas is a time of stress for most and one of the biggest factors of driving accidents is stress. This doesn't just apply to the person driving but of course everyone else on the roads. Stress leads to mistakes and mistakes lead to accidents.
Christmas Driving Tips
Have you read the above and now you're worried about driving safety this holiday season? Don't be, check out these tips to stay safe during the holidays
There's a lot to be said about remaining calm during driving. With the increase in drivers on the road and adverse weather conditions it's important to keep as calm as possible so that you are better equipped to see potential hazards and to deal with them appropriately. This is particularly important for people with children in the car who are more easily distracted.
Service the car
Vehicles which are maintained and need attention are more likely to break down or fail during a journey so be sure to get it serviced and check all is as it should be this winter. This includes ensuring the tyres are inflated correctly, the oil is healthy and all fluids are topped up including brake fluid, engine coolant and of course screenwash. It may also prove useful to read our article on how to prepare a car for snow, too along with brushing up on what to do if your car gets stuck in the snow.
Making sure the tank has more than enough fuel or a good charge if it's an EV is also a good idea in the event of major traffic.
Sticking to routes you know is a sure-fire way to avoid the dangers of festive journeys and you will be much more aware of the trickiest bits. If you have to drive on roads you're not familiar with you can still take a look at the route and major roads you need to take in advance to help make you aware of important lane changes, roundabout exits and any country roads you'll need to take. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail is very relevant here.
Plan plenty of rest stops if the journey is going to be a long one and don't take the wheel if you're tired because we all know that tiredness can kill.
Adapt your driving to the conditions
At the time of writing there has only been a week or so of frosty, icy weather but there will certainly be more to come. As temperatures plummet and road conditions worsen it's your responsibility to drive as the conditions demand them. Black ice, sleet, snow, puddles and slippery roads, in general, await you but the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.
Take it easy, don't accelerate too quickly, pump the breaks as opposed to slamming on and take corners lightly are a couple of dead easy safety driving tips we can give you. Be even more mindful of how you drive on country lanes as opposed to busy motorways as not every road will be blessed with grit this holiday season.
If the weather has been considered poor and the road conditions are horrendous then consider not driving at all even if you have important business.
Don't drink alcohol the night before driving
Alcohol stays in the blood for a long time after consumption and a long night's sleep may not be enough for it to leave your system so our advice is to just not drink at all the night before your journey this holiday season.
By packing some essential items for the journey you can protect yourself if the worst happens and you break down or get stranded, here are some ideas:
- Warm clothes such as coats, thermal socks, hats
- Portable charger to keep your phone working
- Snow clearing tools such as de-icer, shovels and sand/grit
Don't leave gifts in plain sight
You don't need to be driving to stay safe this Christmas. Ensuring any gifts you've bought are hidden in the car, or better yet not in the car at all, can protect you from being burgled over the Christmas period as opportunists seek ill-gotten gains at your expense. The robbing business is sadly most active during the holidays than at any other time during the year.
Related: Christmas Gifts for Car Enthusiasts
There you have it, we hope our tips prove valuable this holiday season and help you have an accident free driving experience this Christmas.