Holiday driving advice

Safe Driving Advice for the Holiday Season.

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The holiday season has arrived here. Unfortunately, the latest round of Covid-19 restrictions will limit previously planned festivities. Still, friends and family across Nova Scotia will get together to celebrate, even in smaller groups as it may be. While picking out an outfit and planning the perfect meal are top of mind, it’s important to remember to drive safely, especially during the holiday season. Whether you’re hitting to roads for a much-needed visit to loved ones and family or attending a small holiday party with friends and colleagues, keep in mind these holiday driving safety tips to ensure everyone stays safe.

Ensure your vehicle is Winter Ready.

Winter weather is unpredictable at best. A vehicle check-up is always advisable to ensure your car is equipped with windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze, oil, well-working wiper blades, and especially a good set of tires, ideally winter tires.

It is also wise to have an up-to-date emergency kit.  This should include a variety of items, including:

  • Windshield scraper/snowbrush,
  • Reflective safety triangles
  • Matches or lighter
  • Shovel, tire chains, traction mat, sand or kitty litter
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • First aid kit

Before you head out, make sure your cell phone is fully charged or you have a phone charger in your car. Bring bottled water, non-perishable snacks, extra gloves and blankets even footwear. For more great winter driving safety tips, check out our blog Winter is coming, are you ready for this?

Drive for the road conditions.

Winter road conditions vary widely and can change quickly. Make sure you know how to drive for the conditions before getting behind the wheel. This includes knowing how to brake safely in snow or on ice and how to get out of a skid.

Drive more slowly and maintain a safe following distance. It takes longer to stop on slippery roads, so you should keep at least four seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you. You should also drop your speed to match road conditions. The posted speed is the maximum speed under ideal conditions, and seasonal conditions are often anything but.

Whether it’s a trip to find the family tree or a holiday shopping excursion, remember that the roads will be full of people doing the same thing.  People are often in a hurry during the holidays. Leaving earlier than you need ensures you arrive on time and helps alleviate unnecessary stress.

Check weather reports for current and coming conditions. Don’t drive if road or weather conditions are unsafe or worsening. Cancel, re-schedule, or re-route trips.  If a trip is necessary, make sure you select the safest route, give yourself extra time to get where you’re going without rushing and implement a check-in plan so others can keep track of your progress.

Don’t drink and drive – designate a driver.

The holiday season often features good food, warm fireplaces, and lots of alcohol. If you have plans for a holiday road trip with pitstops at a friend or family member’s place, stay off the alcohol if you drive. Holidays and alcohol go hand-in-hand with each other, and if you are attending a party, hire an Uber, call a taxi, or ask a non-drinking friend or family member to be the designated driver.

The safety of friends and family onboard your car is not something you want to play around with. Holiday traffic and winter road conditions are already tricky enough that well-experienced and even sober drivers find it challenging to drive around. Driving under the influence is a severe offence that can cause fatal road accidents. Regardless of whether it’s the summer or winter, never drink and drive.

If you don’t plan on drinking or consuming cannabis, consider volunteering to be a designated driver for your friends. As the designated driver, it will be your job to get everyone home safely, so remember to be extra defensive on the road. At night, your chances of driving near an impaired driver are higher than usual.

MADD Canada offers a lot of good advice when it comes to drinking and driving; here are a few tips:

  • Hosting a holiday party? Consider pre-ordering cabs, designated driver services, and other transportation options to ensure everyone gets home safe and sound.
  • If you are going to a holiday party at a friend’s home, leave your car at home so you won’t be tempted to drive home after having a couple of drinks.

At Bauld Insurance, we’re a family, and we like to treat our customers the same. We’re always looking to help our clients be well protected, which means more than just home insurance and car insurance.  It has been a long and challenging year, and we all deserve a joyful holiday season. Keep these holiday driving safety tips in mind, and drive safely.