Staying safe on the roads during the holiday season

With Thanksgiving on the horizon and several holidays to follow shortly after, the one thing on your mind may be spending time with close friends and relatives. You are not alone. Each year, thousands of people travel through the St. Louis area and across the country to spend time with their relatives, and not all of them travel by plane; many of them will be on the road. 

Before you rush to make a list of things you need to do to prepare for those savory holiday meals and get-togethers, take some time to review the following safety protocols for avoiding car accidents during one of the busiest seasons of the year. 

Get your vehicle in order 

Make sure your car or SUV is ready for the road regardless of how far or long you plan to drive. Have it inspected so you can take care of any repair and maintenance issues. Fill up your fuel tank, inflate the tires to proper levels, inspect your windshield wiper blades and top off all car fluids. 

Do not drive while impaired

You may feel inclined to socially drink or consume more alcohol than usual when you are with your friends and family, so be sure to choose a few people as designated drivers. Give someone your keys and ask her or him to hold on to them until you are sober enough to drive. Wait several hours after your last sip to get behind the wheel. 

Follow traffic and road rules 

In your excitement and haste, you may feel like it is okay for you to ignore traffic rules and run a few red lights and speed. As tempting as those actions might be, they are dangerous and can result in you becoming injured in a motor vehicle accident. Play it safe and follow the law and all traffic rules when you drive. 

Take breaks 

If you plan to drive a long distance or for an extended length of time, take frequent breaks to reduce the chances of becoming tired and inattentive. Have another licensed driver ride with you so she or he can take over when you are fatigued, or you can both take turns driving. 

Be respectful towards other motorists 

Try not to rush to your destination. Rushing makes it easier for you to disregard other motorists and engage in reckless driving behavior. Pay attention to other drivers and extend to them the proper road courtesies. Incidents of road rage often occur when drivers abuse their driving privileges and are disrespectful towards each other. 

The holiday season is a time of fun, cheer and festivities for many, but it is also a time when the risk of becoming seriously injured in car accidents is at its highest. Protect yourself, passengers, friends and family by staying safe on the roads.