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Holiday Driving Rules: Safety and Courtesy Are King

holiday traveling tips

Driving a large vehicle can be a challenge at the best of times but with the increased levels of traffic on popular holiday traveling days it can be extremely stressful, not just for you in your RV, but for those attempting to navigate their way around your vehicle. Being courteous and safe at all times is essential to ensuring you arrive at your destination without incident. 

Buckle Up – Every Single Time!

More accidents resulting in injury occur on short trips. One of the reasons for this is that many people think that due to only going a short distance it is not worth the effort of putting on a seat belt. Sadly, it takes very little impact from another vehicle to cause serious injury when a seat belt is not in place to prevent the occupants of the hit vehicle being tossed around. Ribs can be badly bruised and even cracked or broken when the driver’s body collides with the steering wheel, and front seat passengers have nothing to prevent them being thrown into the dash or windshield. 

No matter how short a distance or time you will be driving, take the few seconds needed to buckle up. As the driver of a vehicle it is also important that you ensure all of your passengers are buckled up too, and don’t forget the family pet!

Say No to Drinking and Driving

Alcohol and motor vehicles do not mix! While it might be tempting to enjoy a few alcoholic drinks during the holiday season and then drive home, it is never a good idea. It takes very little alcohol to impact your ability to make good decisions on the road, and if you add in an element of tiredness it is even worse. If you must have a drink or two make sure that you eat before your first drink, and then stop drinking in plenty of time before driving to allow the effects of the alcohol to wear off. If in any doubt, don’t! 

If traveling with others choose a designated driver before leaving for your holiday celebration destination. By doing this others can relax and enjoy themselves knowing that they have a sober driver to get them home. Alternate designated drivers so that everyone gets to be have the opportunity to have a few drinks over the holiday season.

Checks and Maintenance

It is always desirable to ensure that your vehicle is in top notch condition before traveling, and regular maintenance should be undertaken, as well as spot checks before hitting the road every single time. Check tires for tread and pressure, and address immediately if issues are noted. Batteries should be clean, filled, and fully charged to reduce the opportunity for failure.

Remember that during holiday weekends and over the Christmas / New Year many tire shops and repair facilities will have reduced hours. While you may find some facilities open in larger cities, small cities and towns are far less likely to be able to assist you with your emergency needs. Undertaking checks far enough in advance of traveling will provide you with time to address any issues.

Avoid Driving While Tired

Studies have shown that alcohol impacts a driver’s ability to make rational decisions in an emergency situation, and being tired has similar effects. Take the time to get sufficient sleep before embarking on a long drive, and don’t push yourself to the limit. In an RV you have the advantage of being able to pull over and grab a few hours sleep before getting behind the wheel again, so there is no excuse for driving when tired.

Plan your route so that there are plenty of places to pull over and eat, take a toilet break, stretch your legs, and relax for a little while to recharge. If traveling with others share the driving so that no one person is driving for more than 4 hours at a time. Listen to your body and if you find yourself reaching your limit pull over immediately, take a break if alone, or change drivers. It is far better to arrive at your destination a little late than to risk falling asleep at the wheel.

Observe Speed Limits

While you have no control over the speed of other vehicles on the road you do have the ability to adhere to speed limits yourself. It is important to drive at the recommended speed all the time, but during holiday trips it is even more important. If driving a Class A or similar large RV you are going to take up a significant amount of road space and other drivers may become frustrated with you if you are going too slow. Drivers sometimes take drastic measures to try and get past large vehicles, and put themselves at risk of a accident as a result. Keep your speed constant and be vigilant so that you are always aware of what is not only ahead of you but on both sides and behind. 

Traveling at a constant speed is good for gas consumption as well as making driving more enjoyable and relaxing. When out on the open road or freeway maintaining a constant speed should be easy to manage, and will make it easier for faster moving vehicles to make safe lane changes in order to get around you. Courtesy is the key, with safety being your aim.

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