The holiday season is a busy time of year.  People routinely travel to spend the festive season with loved ones, and to celebrate the coming of a New Year. Even motorists who stay close to home are likely to spend time going to bars, restaurants, and friends’ houses to ring in a New Year and start 2016 off right.

Whether you are heading on a long distance trip or planning to celebrate locally, it is imperative you understand added risks of Arizona car accidents around the holiday season. Both the weekends surrounding Christmas and the weekends surrounding New Years have more drivers on the road, drivers traveling longer distances, and more drivers who are impaired by drugs and alcohol.  While you can’t do much to control the behavior of others and prevent them from getting into collisions, you can take steps to maximize the chances you and your passengers will be safe.

Tips for Safe Travel This Holiday Season and Beyond

Your obligation to be a smart and safe motorist is especially important during the high-risk holiday season, but it also extends far beyond into the new year. Independent Traveler has a long list of safe travel trips you should consider to get through the holiday season and to help make 2016 a safer driving year.

Motorists who want to prioritize safety should:

  • Get sufficient rest and have a good meal before embarking on a holiday road trip. Do not count on caffeine to keep you awake if you begin to feel drowsy. Even if caffeine keeps you up, your mind can begin to wander when you feel fatigued and you could cause a drowsy driving collision.
  • Take breaks every few hours to rest, recharge, and have a quick snack so you can stay alert.
  • Share driving responsibilities whenever possible when going on long holiday road trips.
  • Keep your vehicle off the road if you need to stop for any reason. Stay off the shoulder of the road unless you have an emergency.
  • Know different state laws on cell phones if you plan on taking a road trip across state lines. It is always best to stay off phones entirely, but be aware you can face higher fines for talking or texting in some states compared with others, even when using hands-free devices.
  • Check weather reports before heading out and plan trips around inclement weather whenever possible.
  • Bring along an atlas or a map instead of counting on your GPS alone, so you will not be lost if your GPS stops working.
  • Familiarize yourself with a rental vehicle if you rent a car on a holiday trip.
  • Know local traffic laws, including speed limit laws, which can differ by state.
  • Have your car checked out before going on a road trip, especially if it has been a long time since the vehicle was inspected.

By following these basic tips, you can help to ensure you reduce the chances of a crash on your trip and that you maximize the chances of a trouble-free holiday vacation road trip.