Travel is a part of the Easter holiday for many Georgians. If you plan to drive this Easter to visit family and friends or are looking forward to a spring break road trip, we are here to help. As road traffic increases significantly during Easter and other holidays, so do car accidents caused by drunk driving and distracted driving, among other types of crashes.
You do not have to be a statistic this spring. Here are some practical safety tips you can use to help prevent accidents and injuries this holiday.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Regular vehicle inspections, maintenance, and repairs play a big part in roadway safety and accident prevention. If you keep up with routine service, you reduce the chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction. Tire blowouts, brake failures, and engine troubles can turn your Easter holiday into a stressful headache.
- Check the tread on your tires and make sure they are properly inflated several times per month.
- Test your lights to ensure they are working and replace dim or damaged bulbs.
- If you notice excess wear and tear on your windshield wiper blades or they are not effectively removing water, replace them immediately.
- Do not ignore funny sounds or warning alerts on your dash that indicate something is wrong with your vehicle.
A bit of time and care before you depart can prevent costly and dangerous breakdowns while driving this Easter.
Plan Your Route
You may experience more traffic than usual during the Easter weekend. More vehicles on the road mean a greater chance of accidents. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, Easter weekend is the fourth most dangerous weekend for drivers, behind Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Fourth of July weekends.
- To make your trip go smoothly and avoid all of the hazards that come with traffic congestion, start by leaving a bit earlier than usual. Give yourself extra time to navigate bumper-to-bumper traffic.
- Take breaks if you become frustrated, or even opt for the longer but less congested scenic route.
- Let someone know your plans including when you are leaving, where you are headed, and when you are expected to arrive. This way, if anything should happen and you cannot call for help, someone else can.
- Anticipate traffic, construction, and inclement weather. Many mobile device apps are available to help you get where you are going, alerting you to accidents, detours, harsh weather conditions, and slowed traffic along the way.
- Don’t speed. If you are not in a rush, you will be less likely to speed and take other unnecessary risks. You will also be less stressed, and who wants to be stressed on a holiday?
Defensive driving is an approach that empowers the driver to anticipate and react to situations they encounter on the road. It can help you this Easter when you hit holiday traffic. The benefits of defensive driving can help you dodge car accidents every time you get behind the wheel.
So, just what does it mean to be a defensive driver? Essentially, defensive driving is operating your vehicle in a way that allows you to identify and predict hazards and make informed decisions to respond safely and avoid roadway crashes.
Defensive driving crash prevention skills include:
- Adapting to your surroundings.
- Adjusting speed for environmental conditions.
- Avoiding aggressive drivers.
- Checking mirrors frequently.
- Cutting out distractions include mobile phones.
- Following at a safe distance (3 to 4 seconds.)
- Having an “escape route” if your path is suddenly blocked.
- Increasing following distance in severe weather.
- Managing multiple risks.
- Scanning the roadway 20 to 30 seconds ahead.
Defensive drivers do not depend on other drivers to make smart, safe choices. They anticipate the worst-case scenario, so they have time and space to react, just in case.
Do Not Drink and Drive
The increase in holiday driving accidents is largely due to the increase in drunk driving at these times. In fact, research shows DUI accounts for as much as 38 percent of fatal holiday vehicle crashes.
If mimosas are on your Easter brunch menu, remember that even just a single alcoholic beverage can cause changes that make it unsafe to drive. In Georgia and most other states, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for driving is 0.08 percent. But that does not mean anything less is safe for operating a motor vehicle.
The United States Department of Transportation campaign “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” wants to destroy the myth that it is okay to drive after a drink or two.
- Consider that at 0.02 BAC (or one or two alcoholic drinks) the body begins to relax, and some judgement loss occurs.
- It becomes more difficult to track other vehicles, pedestrians, and animals. Multitasking is challenging as well.
- Someone with a 0.05 BAC may have poor muscle coordination, balance problems, slowed reaction time, and impaired judgement and self-control.
If you plan to drink this Easter or spring break, plan ahead for a friend or family member to be the designated safe driver. Use a rideshare service, taxi, or public transportation. Keep you celebration fun, joyful, and safe!
Put the Phone Down
Distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. You are a risk to yourselves and others any time you are not fully alert and in control of your vehicle, even if that means looking down at your phone for just a few seconds.
Distracted driving claimed more than 3,000 lives in a single year according to NHTSA. Looking away from the road for just five seconds while traveling at 55 miles per hour is like driving the entire length of a football field with one’s eyes closed.
Sending that text, eating lunch, or fiddling with the stereo while driving can wait this Easter. Resist the urge to give in to driving distractions and take care of these tasks before you set out for your spring drive or when you arrive.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Even if you take every possible safety precaution, It is impossible to prevent every hazard. Accidents and breakdowns will unfortunately be a part of some drivers’ Easter holiday. It is always a good idea to have a road safety kit in your vehicle at all times in case of emergencies. These minimal supplies can help keep you safe until help arrives.
Emergency Road Safety Kit Checklist
- Non-perishable foods.
- Warm blankets.
- Hats, gloves, and scarves (in colder climates.)
- Jumper cables.
- Flares or reflective warning triangles.
- Flashlights and extra batteries.
- Portable mobile phone chargers.
Following these Easter driving safety guidelines can you can help avoid serious collisions. Unfortunately, the actions of other drivers are out of your control. If you are hit and injured by a careless driver, be sure to get the proper medical attention. Then, contact a skilled car accident attorney to learn your rights and legal options for pain, suffering, auto repairs, and medical bills incurred as a result of the accident. You deserve justice if another driver’s negligence caused your life-changing injury.
Springfield Car Accident Lawyers at Kicklighter Law Provide Superior Legal Guidance for Clients Across Georgia
If you or a loved one was harmed by an aggressive, impaired, or distracted driver, justice is possible. Springfield car accident lawyers at Kicklighter Law take a comprehensive approach to personal injury law. Call 912-754-6003 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Kicklighter Law proudly serves clients throughout Effingham County, Savannah, and the surrounding areas.