There are a number of hazards to avoid when driving during the festive period.
Here are some tips for staying safe driving on the road this Christmas.
Keep your vehicle maintained
Cold, dark conditions are not the best for driving and they also take a toll on your car. It’s important, then, that you ensure your vehicle is well-maintained over the festive period. Check your battery and your lights, clean your windows to help with visibility and make sure your tyres are the right pressure and have enough tread.
Beware the ‘morning after’
We all know that drink-driving is illegal and must be avoided but where an increasing number of people are being caught out is the morning after they have had some drinks.
Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show that ‘morning after’ offences account for over a fifth of all drink-driving offences. With a number of parties and work functions to attend, this is a particular problem this time of year. If you know you have to drive the next day, take it easy on the alcohol consumption.
Drive to the conditions
It has been quite a mild winter so far but should the temperatures drop – look out for black ice. One of the big problems with black ice is that you don’t know it is there until you start to skid. Try to avoid this by slowing down and driving to the conditions, using your car’s outside thermometer as a guide.
Fill up before you leave
Everyone deserves some time off over Christmas, including petrol station staff, so at this time of year you might find some garages have closed early. For this reason, if you are planning a long drive, make sure you fill up before you go rather than hoping you might find a petrol station en route.
Avoid driver’s fatigue
Many people will find themselves driving long distances to meet up with family this Christmas. Additional challenges, such as traffic congestion, difficult driving conditions and a few late nights can all lead to drivers becoming tired and less alert. Road safety organisation Think! says almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related. Don’t start driving if you already really tired, take regular breaks, avoid long journeys between midnight and 6am and stop for a coffee if you feel yourself getting sleepy.
Be aware of revellers
It’s best to be extra cautious when driving through build-up areas this time of year because there is a much higher proportion of people on the streets who have had a drink or two. Revellers in high spirits may not be so aware of the traffic – taking risks when crossing the road or stepping out unexpectedly. Best to keep your eyes peeled.
Don’t leave presents in the back of your car
This is not exactly to do with driving but it’s an important tip nonetheless. Whether you are out shopping for presents or driving back with gifts from family in the days after Christmas, don’t leave valuable gifts or colourfully wrapped presents on view in your parked car. A lot crime is opportunistic and this may be enough to tempt a thief to try and break into your vehicle. Lock presents out of sight in the boot.