Busy sidewalks, shoppers buzzing to and fro, parties here and there.
The roads are silent witnesses to both foot and vehicle traffic because, come what may, the holiday season is coming to town.
With all the razzle-dazzle of the holiday season, it is easy to get swept away and be wrapped in that cheery fog. However, it is best to keep your wits about you, especially if you’re driving yourself or a group of family or friends to and from any of your holiday destinations.
From making sure that your trusty auto service center uses the best grease for bearings on your vehicle, to checking that each and every passenger is safely buckled up, you need to be ready on the road. Whether you’re going out of town and driving long-distance or just dropping off gifts to friends in the neighborhood, you have to make sure that you and your car are ready to take on the holiday traffic situation.
Here are some important things to remember when driving around this holiday season:
1. Get Car Maintenance Done
You might be spending hours in your vehicle this holiday season. With this in mind, you have to make sure that your trusty ride is ready for anything and everything that might happen while traversing the busy streets this season.
The best way to get your car ready is to bring it to a reputable car care center or trusted technical service provider for its regular check-up. Car maintenance services are crucial to keeping your car in tip-top shape. By getting its internal systems checked as well as all those nuts and bolts, you can rest assured that you are driving a car that won’t just give up on you on the road.
Aside from checking your engine, your knowledgeable auto service center must also ensure that the brakes, wheels, and other crucial features such as the air-conditioning system and safety system are all in good working condition. This will give you peace of mind and security while driving.
2. Buckle Up
Once you’re ready to go, do not start the engine without ensuring that each passenger is properly buckled up. Even if it’s just a short ride down the road, an accident could happen that may lead to severe injuries or even death.
Wearing seatbelts can reduce the risk of fatal injuries to front-seat passengers by 45 percent. It prevents car occupants from being hurled out of a vehicle in the event of a crash or slamming into an opening airbag. Contrary to popular belief, an airbag alone cannot save you from a crash. In fact, a rapidly deploying airbag can even injure or kill you if you’re not properly restrained.
You should take the time to review the proper ways of wearing a seatbelt. Basically, the lap belt should rest across your hips and the shoulder belt must be situated between your chest and away from your neck. Children and pregnant women must also be aware of the proper use of seatbelts and child restraint systems.
3. Avoid Distractions on the Road
According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, 1.35 million people worldwide die from road traffic crashes each year. Even more distressing is the fact that road traffic crash is considered to be the number one killer of children and young adults between the ages of five to 29. Millions more are injured or disabled.
One of the reasons why these traffic mishaps happen is because of distracted driving. Distracted driving can happen when you take your mind off of driving (cognitive), when you take your hands off the wheel (physical), and when you take your eyes off the road (visual). Prime examples of distracted driving habits are using your mobile phone to text, email, or play while driving, eating or drinking while driving, and driving absentmindedly.
The holidays might be one of the busiest times of the year, but when you’re driving, make sure to put 100% of your attention to what you’re doing. This will help you avoid putting your life and that of other road users lives at risk.
4. Check the Weather
Before you head out, it is best to check what the weather holds for you. In countries prone to snow, it is always ideal to check the weather forecast to be ready for snowy roads. For other places untouched by snow, checking if there’s a chance of rain is also advised.
Rain and snow can make the roads slick and slippery. When this happens, it best to be ready by preparing the appropriate driving gear, like putting on tire chains or checking your tire treads. You should also be more careful when driving in inclement weather. Make sure your brakes are checked before driving off.
When adverse weather is forecasted, it is best if you stay put, especially if it's not really pertinent that you go out.
5. Map Your Route
When heading out of town and you are unfamiliar with the roads going to your destination, it is recommended that you bring a map. This is especially helpful when the navigation system conks out or when your mobile connection is intermittent or totally unavailable.
If you will be driving around the city or neighboring town delivering gifts, running errands, or hopping from party to party, mapping your route is an efficient way to save on fuel (and the planet). Plan where you are going first and then find out the most efficient way to go around and accomplish your tasks.
Nowadays, with the help of technology and innovation, digital maps are much more accessible by everyone. Its accuracy and accessibility allows it to navigate everyone wherever they wish to go.
6. Take a Break
Driving long-distance can be a tedious chore. When you foresee yourself driving for hours, make sure to squeeze in time for breaks.
Making a pit stop allows you to stretch your legs and get your circulation going. Aside from that, it’s also the best time to freshen up and use the restroom, eat your meals properly (remember, don’t eat or drink while driving), and try to get your bearings, especially if you think you’re getting lost.
7. Prepare a Road Emergency Kit
Aside from the emergency kit that comes with your vehicle, it is also wise to pack a travel emergency kit for yourself and your car occupants.
When traveling long distance, for example, make sure you have enough snacks and drinks (preferably water) for your passengers. If you have kids in tow, bring along a book or two, their favorite toy, or some games that can be played safely while on the road.
Aside from preparing emergency supplies for the car, you should also have a first aid kit.
Laughing All the Way
If you want to have a merry, jolly holiday season on the road, then it is best to come prepared. Make sure that your car is ready, your plans are all laid out, and your car is properly stocked with the basic necessities for any emergencies. Most of all, you have to put safety first, always.
If you’ve done your homework, then buckle up and enjoy the holiday ride.
Hassanein Alwan is the Managing Director of Mineral Circles Bearings with more than 10 years' experience in the bearing industry's technical support division, sales and marketing, plus strategic business development consultancy.