Avoid a Car Insurance Claim this Holiday Season

The holiday season is one of the most joyful times of the year; there’s family, friends, food, and a festive spirit that makes the whole time of the year seem like one giant celebration. However, a day of celebration can quickly turn into a moment of tragedy, especially if you or a loved one are involved in an auto accident.

Whether traveling to visit family, or simply enjoying the evening at a friend’s holiday celebration, it’s important to remain diligent on the road. Unfortunately, during the holiday season, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes, with 40% of traffic fatalities involving a driver impaired by alcohol. There are, however, a few things that you can do in order to improve your safety and that of your family’s as well.

McAllen’s bad faith insurance lawyers Millin & Millin want to ensure you have a holiday season that you will remember for years to come. Consider the following safety tips when you are out on the road.

Tips for Traveling Out-of-Town

The safety of you and your family should be number one on your list this year as you travel to-and-fro to visit relatives. Stay safe with these tips:

  • Service your car. Before a long drive you are going to want to make sure that your car is in tip-top shape. Check your tires, change your oil, check your heating/cooling systems, and make sure that your vehicle can handle the trip.
  • Prepare for an emergency. Winter weather, even in Texas, can mean long lines and dangerous road conditions. Make sure to prepare an emergency kit with blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, extra clothes, and some food.
  • Prepare yourself. Make sure to get a goodnight’s rest before a long drive and plan to take regular breaks to avoid fatigue that can easily lead to wreck.
  • Do not drink and drive. This is a simple rule to follow and one of the most important. If you plan on stopping for some food and a drink, then do not plan on driving afterwards.
  • Make sure children are properly buckled. Small children should be seated in a appropriate child seat and should not be allowed to walk around the vehicle while traveling.
  • Traveling with pets? Make sure your pets are restrained for everybody’s safety.

Maintain Good Driving Techniques During the Holidays

While the holiday season is a time of joy and relaxation for many, it can also be quite chaotic and frenzied because of all the traveling and holiday shopping that takes place. While it’s easy to get flustered by all the aggressive drivers, make sure to maintain good driving techniques yourself. Follow these good driving techniques to ensure safe travel:

  • Leave some distance between your car and the car in front. Yes, the holiday season can make you rush, but it’s vital to leave some distance between yourself and the other drivers on the road. Maintain at least a 3-second gap between you and the car in front of you. If it’s raining or foggy, then double that distance to 6-seconds. Getting to your destination safe is much more important than getting there quickly.
  • Use your turn signals when changing lanes. You’ll always want to provide other motorists around you a warning about your actions. Make sure to use your turning signals when turning or changing lanes to provide others an adequate notice; otherwise you might just cause an accident.
  • Keep right unless overtaking. Highways throughout Texas indicate that slower vehicles should stay on the right lane and passing vehicles should use the left to overtake. Make sure to follow these rules to keep everyone safe on the road.
  • Do not cut off other drivers. If you are planning on overtaking another vehicle make sure you have enough room to get past them. Never cut off another driver as this can cause them to veer of the road and can result in a serious crash.
  • Expect the unexpected. You’ll want to make sure to maintain your focus on the road at all times. Allow a passenger to handle GPS duties or change the radio station for you. Also, follow traffic signs and speed limits as rushing to your destination can quickly lead to tragedy. Last, but not least, don’t assume other drivers are following the same rules as you and be sure to drive cautiously.
  • Be extra mindful when driving at night. Nighttime driving requires more skill and concentration because of restricted vision. Oncoming headlights can make it difficult to see ahead and pedestrians can be nearly invisible until you are up close to them. Make sure to drive slower at night and leave a bigger gap between you and the car in front of you in comparison to driving during the day.
  • Stay calm. Road rage is very real, and can lead to inappropriate driving behavior, especially during the holiday season. Stay relaxed while behind the wheel and don’t let another driver’s mistakes get you angry. One bad judgment on your end can mean a horrific accident.
  • Be cautious in parking lots. Parking lots are full of pedestrians who may not be paying attention to the cars around them. As a motorist, it’s your responsibility to ensure their safety (even if they aren’t being responsible themselves). Double check when reversing and don’t assume pedestrians notice your movements.

Safety Tips for that Holiday Party

Holiday parties usually include a bit of alcohol. Sadly, The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction states that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, 1200 people will be killed and 25000 will be injured in traffic accidents caused by alcohol. Consider the following safety tips to enjoy time with your friends and family and get home safely.

  • Determine, prior to a celebration, who the designated driver will be. This is one the most effective way to keep friends and family members safe on the road this holiday season. Consider giving your designated driver a token of appreciation for their kind gesture. If you are the designated driver, be responsible, and do not have even have one drink.
  • Use public transportation if need be. If having a designated driver doesn’t seem like a viable option, then consider using public transportation, a cab, or a service like Uber to get you home safely.
  • Don’t forget to eat. Drinking on an empty stomach can cause a person to become intoxicated much faster. Eating at a holiday get together will encourage you to drink more moderately and will help to slow down the effects of alcohol in your system.
  • Stay off the road between midnight and 3AM. Research from the US Department of Transportation indicates that this is when drunk driving accidents are more likely to occur.

You don’t have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. You may feel normal, but nobody drives well after a drink.

Your team of attorneys at Millin & Millin wants you to take this list and check it twice – and stay safe on the road this holiday season.

The winter holidays are some of the best days of the year because we get to enjoy time with our loved ones in a festive environment. That why our lawyers at Millin & Millin want you to share this information with friends and family to ensure you stay safe during these busy days.

However, if you are involved in an auto accident, and are dealing with bad faith practices from your insurer, then do not hesitate to contact us at (956) 631-5600.