On-the-Road Safety Tips

​​The Key to a Safe and Happy
Holiday Season

​Safety encompasses all aspects of everything we do both in the workplace and in our personal lives. For many, the holiday season is a joyful, yet extremely busy and sometimes stressful, time of year. Frustration can quickly set in, especially on the road with the increased hustle and bustle of holiday traffic.

Keep the following driving scenarios and safety tips in mind when you hit the roads to travel to and from work, visit family and friends, do some holiday shopping or grab a cup of holiday cheer.

​#1: Distracted Driving: Can We Talk?

​Distracted driving is doing any activity – like using portable electronic devices, eating, drinking and more – that takes your attention away from driving; these activities can increase the chance of a motor vehicle crash. In the U.S. alone, more than 15 people are killed daily, and more than 1,200 people are injured in crashes that were reported to involve a distracted driver.

In today’s technological world, we are all easily distracted by the bells and whistles of our hand-held devices or in-vehicle electronics. For this safety tip, we turn to a classic rock song called Roadhouse Blues by the Doors. They sing “… keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.” Granted, they were heading to a roadhouse to have a good time, but they wanted to get there safely, right?

Many countries have bans in place on cell phone use while driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, cell phone use while driving kills 3,000 to 6,000 people every year, and texting while driving causes 25% of these fatal accidents. Almost all U.S. states prohibit texting while driving, but laws against talking on a cell phone while driving vary depending on the state.

Don’t become a statistic. Use common sense and follow these safety guidelines:

  • ​Do not dial the phone while driving or in traffic.
  • ​​Using a “hands-free” set may seem safer, but it is still considered distracted driving.
  • ​Wait for a stop or pull off to the side of the road or into a parking lot to talk on the phone. For highway driving, use the exits and entrances, rather than sit on the shoulder of the highway.
  • ​Do not use the cell phone while driving for social visiting or other unnecessary tasks that would be better taken care of later when it does not endanger your life and/or other lives.
  • ​If you have a passenger in the vehicle, let them make the call or text.

The best safety choice is to turn off hand-held devices distractions while driving. Instead, keep your eyes on the road, so you can get to where you’re going safely.

​#2: Aggressive Driving | Road Rage

​The traffic light is green and the driver in front of you is distracted because they are not paying attention or are on the phone. At first, you wait patiently, but you’ve got places to go and things to do. Frustration sets in and you start yelling, “Do you need an invitation? Get a move on!” They obviously can’t hear your rant, so you press the horn a bit longer than necessary. The driver raises a fist at you and slowly crawls forward, ticking you off even more. You try to pass, but the driver aggressively blocks both lanes. Unbelievable!

In this hypothetical scenario, it only took seconds after the horn was honked before road rage set in, creating a hazardous driving situation for all. Other aggressive driving situations can occur due to following too close behind a car (tailgating), weaving through heavy traffic, making unsafe lane changes, failing to obey traffic signs or signals and more. Any situation can quickly escalate due to frustration. Don’t let impatience and an aggressive driver turn your day into a cat-and-mouse game of chase on the road, potentially endangering yourself and others.

The AAA Foundation’s Aggressive Driving update found that aggressive driving behaviors are a factor in up to 56% of fatal crashes. Additionally, nearly 90% of drivers view aggressive driving as very serious or somewhat serious threat to their own safety.

Many people experience some level of road rage while they drive. Keep the temper in control and drive defensively. Here are some suggestions to help you stay calm and keep your mind on the road:

  • ​Plan your journey - if you know the best way to get to your destination, it helps reduce anxiety and stress.
  • ​Try to forget work or home worries while you are behind the wheel. Concentrate on your driving instead.
  • ​In-vehicle sound systems can help reduce stress, especially in traffic jams.
  • ​Try to be courteous and stay calm if provoked by another motorist.
  • ​Drive with your doors locked and if you sense trouble, do not leave the safety of your car.
  • ​Take a deep breath and count slowly from 1 to 10 if you are tempted to jump out of your car in a fit of rage.
  • ​Do not retaliate by flashing headlights, sounding your horn, or making a rude gesture: It only makes a volatile situation worse.
  • ​If you are the victim of aggression, note the license plate number and report the incident as soon as possible.

​Other driving safety tips:

​1.  Drinking and driving - Coordinate a designated driver, call for a taxi or stay put.

2.  Safety equipment – Seat belts, air bags and emergency tools and supplies are available to protect you and your passengers, make sure they are available and use them every time you hit the road.

3.  Teen driving – Teen drivers have the highest fatal crash risk of any age group. Talk to your children about the risks of driving and make sure they know how to drive safely. Ensure they are trained on safe driving practices.

4.  Child safety – Properly installed child safety seats and correct use of seat belts are essential for protecting your children in case of a car accident.

​Remember to keep safety top of mind at the start and end of each day. We hope these on-the-road tips get you where you’re going safely so you can have a real-good time.

Be safe and Happy Holidays!