The winter holidays can be especially dangerous for drivers for a few reasons. One of these is the reduced visibility at this time of year – the days are at their shortest in December. Another is the weather. Snow and ice on the road can make it slippery and difficult for drivers to maneuver, increasing their chances of being involved in accidents. Add drunk drivers leaving holiday parties to the mix, and you can see why your chance of being involved in a car accident is higher during the December holidays than it is at many other points of the year.
Use the following guidelines to reduce your chance of being involved in a car accident this holiday season.
Drinking and Driving Do Not Mix
A driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 percent or higher is not only at risk of being arrested and charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), he or she is a hazard to everybody on the road. Alcohol inhibits an individual’s perception and judgment, rendering him or her unable to safely operate a vehicle.
This holiday season, choose not to drive drunk. There are a few different strategies you can use to stay safe, such as:
- Volunteering to be a designated driver and choosing not to drink. You can protect loved ones by driving them home after a holiday party;
- Riding with a designated driver;
- Using a rideshare service like Uber or public transportation to get to and from your parties; and
- Staying with your host overnight or being the host and inviting guests to stay in your home until the day after the party.
Keep an Eye on the Weather Before, During, and After your Trip
When you plan a trip to visit loved ones, take a look at the weather forecast first. Look at the weather for your location as well as theirs. Be sure to check the weather forecast for the time of your departure, the duration of your drive, and your drive back home after the visit. If snow or heavy rain is predicted for any point in your trip, consider rescheduling or canceling the trip.
Do a Vehicle Inspection Before you Hit the Road
Before you leave your home, inspect the following:
- Your tire treads;
- Your tire pressure;
- All fluid levels, such as brake fluid, antifreeze, and engine oil; and
- Your windshield wiper blades’ wear.
If anything on your vehicle needs to be replaced or topped off, do this before leaving for a long trip. Having tires with sufficient treat is particularly important during the winter months when roadways may be covered in ice or snow. Dramatic changes in temperature can also cause your tires to deflate, so make it a point to check their pressure levels and refill them if necessary.
Be Vigilant and Courteous Toward the Other Drivers on the Roadway
During the holiday season, visitors from other states and regions will be on Wisconsin’s roadways visiting their loved ones. These drivers might not be familiar with the area and can make mistakes, like stopping suddenly or driving below the speed limit as they look for signs. Be patient with these drivers and when you get stuck in holiday traffic, remain calm. Use defensive driving strategies and be alert at all times as you share the roadway with others.
Be Prepared for a Breakdown, Car Trouble, or an Injury
Pack the following in your vehicle to ensure that you are safe in the event of a variety of situations:
- A first aid kit;
- Clean water;
- A flashlight;
- A warm blanket;
- A bright colored scarf or other fabric to use to flag down aid in the event of a breakdown;
- A car cell phone charger;
- A tool kit;
- A spare tire and a jack; and
- Extra antifreeze, oil, power steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid.
In the event of a breakdown, remain calm. If you have AAA or a similar service, call it to have help dispatched to your location.
Work with an Experienced Appleton Car Accident Lawyer
Our team of car accident lawyers at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC wishes you and your family a happy, healthy holiday season. If you are injured in a car accident because of another party’s negligence this winter, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Contact our office to schedule your initial consultation with us to learn more about your rights and options.