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How To Stay Safe Driving At Christmas

Fleet of business cars parked in a row

Christmas is a time for unbound happiness and togetherness; however, it is also a time to be utmost careful while sitting behind the steering wheel. With the rush of people to finish their Christmas shopping and prepare for the upcoming festivities, you will often find yourself stuck in endless traffic, scurrying pedestrians, mindless drivers, crowded roads, and rampant vehicles. Hence, it is imperative to drive responsibly during the festive season.

Here is a list of tips for staying safe while driving this holiday season.

Driving around the city

Christmas means that you might have to take multiple trips in and around the city for shopping, visiting friends and family, or simply running last-minute errands. This will be the case for everyone else, too, and therefore, you have to watch out for heavy traffic volumes and delays. You can either plan your route in advance, decide where to park your car, or keep a tab on the traffic news to understand when the flow of vehicles is the least.

There will be more pedestrians on the roads, so you have to ensure that you drive carefully. Keep a safe following distance, dim your headlights when you perceive an approaching vehicle from the opposite side, and try to avoid a high beam if the weather is windy.  Most importantly, allow yourself extra room while turning.

The Weather

Many parts of the UK experience snowfall during winter, and driving at Christmas on salty and icy roads needs to be done carefully. If you see that the weather is getting too rough or it has become extremely foggy, pull over and wait for it to get better before you head off. Ensure that your fog lights are on when you see snow building up during the day or night. Refrain from taking roads that are seldom travelled upon.

Your car

Christmas in the UK is mostly chilly, with some areas experiencing light to heavy snowfall. Before you begin driving at Christmas:

  1. Ensure that your car is equipped with winter tyres and that your vehicle is duly serviced before the onset of the festive season.
  2. Keep the vehicle fluid filled and ensure that your car’s heater and defroster work properly.
  3. Ensure that you have an emergency kit to combat any kind of unforeseen circumstances during the chilling weather.
  4. Keep a watchful eye on the pressure on the tyres and adjust it if necessary.
  5. Ensure that the brake pads are in optimum condition.

The journeys

Use seat belts when you are driving at Christmas. Remain alert while driving, and if you take frequent long journeys, ensure that you sleep appropriately at night. Stop your car and take some time to stretch if you feel fatigued. Refrain from driving at odd hours, such as late nights or early mornings, especially if the weather is bad. You might be tempted to speed up in a frenzy to do your Christmas shopping before the stores close or get to a Christmas party. However, remember that police vigilance is highly stepped up during this season, and chances are that you might be handed a speeding ticket, which will definitely not be a pleasing affair. And lastly, always secure your seatbelts.

Drinking and Driving

Each year, the UK Government spends a lot of money to warn the population against drunk driving at Christmas. Research has revealed that alcohol consumption in people in the UK increases by 40% during Christmas, and almost half of this population tends to drive drunk. If you have decided to drink and be merry on a certain festive night, make sure that you have vested the responsibility onto someone who has not had alcohol to drop you home safely. You could also consider designating a driver or taking a taxi. Else, make arrangements to stay back for the night.

Allow yourself a little extra time

Giving yourself some extra time ensures that you are not in a rush at the last moment and consequently avoid any driving hazards you might generally face otherwise. Also, no one likes the feeling of rushing around. Therefore, we recommend you plan out a driving itinerary with the time when you are driving at Christmas so that you know exactly how and when to begin your journeys and comfortably reach within the stipulated time.

Secure the Christmas tree

After you have bought your Christmas tree and intend to take it home, ensure that you securely tie it to the roof of your vehicle. If you feel that the tree is way too huge for you to able to transport it safely, seek the help of a larger vehicle. Speeding on highways might loosen the ropes which you use to secure your Christmas tree, and therefore, it is advisable that you do not put another driver at risk. You can rope in a friend or family member to assist you when you venture out to buy the Christmas tree.

Keep your cool

Tight schedules and congested roads might make you feel stressed and frustrated. Such a state of mind can cause risky behaviour and poor decisions behind the wheel, and the most dangerous outcome is road rage. You must ensure that you prepare yourself for such driving conditions during Christmas. Be calm and vigilant, keep your passengers occupied to reduce distractions and be prepared to expect what is unexpected from your fellow drivers.

Christmas is the time to be merry and seek happiness in the company of friends and family. As responsible citizens, it is up to you to make the festive season a peaceful and cherished time. Stay safe and keep your near and dear ones safe and sound. When you sit behind the wheel during this time, remember that you have to be at your best and deliver your best.