DANBURY, Conn. – The holidays are filled with parties, family gatherings and festive events, which means many people will spend time behind the wheel traveling to destinations near and far. Holiday driving can be stressful and dangerous, but the Danbury police have some tips for staying safe this season.
“You're locked inside the family car for hours, slogging it out with other holiday-time drivers. The kids are cranky, your spouse is tired, and you're on edge, thinking about all the things you've left unfinished,” Officer Jay Mortara said in a statement. “Welcome to the holiday drive-fest, that time of year when stress, fatigue, distractions, parties and winter weather combine to make some of the most dangerous driving.”
One of the easiest ways to stay safe is to ensure vehicles are in good working order. Cold temperatures can cause a decrease battery power by 50 percent, and AAA recommends checking batteries more than 2 years old to ensure they are still working properly. Worn tires can reduce traction and cause slippery conditions to become even more dangerous, Mortara said.
Police also remind drivers that winter brings shorter days and snowy weather that lead to reduced visibility. All vehicle lights should be checked before journeying out on the road.
With your car in working order, the next step is to make sure you are ready for the road.
“It's important to leave stress outside your car. Don't let it affect you behind the wheel,” Mortara said.
Police advise drivers to use stress-management techniques, turn off electronic devices and avoid aggressive driving. Never drive when you are drowsy, and if you’re planning on a long trip, make sure to schedule breaks to rest every three hours, which is the recommended interval according to safety experts, police said.
Make sure to have adequate emergency supplies in case something goes wrong. Police suggest keeping an ice scraper, washer fluid, rags, warm clothing, shovel, flashlights, food and water in the car at all times.
The last part of a safe holiday trip is making smart choices. Police warn drivers to never drink and drive, especially when fatigued. Drivers should also check their medications to ensure they don’t interfere with the ability to drive safely.
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