As the holiday season approaches, the Office of Traffic Safety and Caltrans want to make sure you are prepared to travel safely. Between holiday shopping, festive outings and gathering with loved ones — there are several opportunities to Go Safely this season.
Even as the days get cooler and shorter, it seems our calendars are busier than ever. To make sure you make it to all your holiday gatherings safely, it is important to plan ahead before you get behind the wheel. Drowsy, impaired and distracted driving are deadly — but they are also preventable.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2020, 633 people lost their lives to drowsy driving. Studies have shown that drowsy driving can impair your ability to drive in the same way that drinking and driving does. The best way to prevent drowsy driving is to recognize the signs. Yawning, daydreaming, missing an exit and drifting from a lane are all signs that you need to pull over safely and rest up. Even a quick 30-minute nap can do wonders to refresh you before the next leg of your trip. It is important to get enough sleep, take a break every two hours or 100 miles and avoid alcohol or medications that can make you sleepy.
While you prepare for your celebrations this season, remember to prepare your holiday safety plan as well. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a deadly choice, so plan accordingly. Designate a sober driver or schedule a rideshare to get you home safe and sound. If you are hosting a party, don’t let your friends or family drive impaired. Ensure that all guests have a designated sober driver or alternative, sober transportation to get them safely to their destinations. If you are driving and suspect that another driver may be driving impaired, call 911. You could save a life.
It can be easy to get caught up in our busy holiday schedules, but make sure you also take the time to limit your distractions while driving. Silence your cell phone and concentrate on the road as driving conditions tend to worsen in the winter months. When texting behind the wheel, the amount of time your eyes are off the road averages five seconds. When driving at an approximate speed of 55 MPH, you could essentially cover the length of a football field, blindfolded. The text can wait until you safely arrive at your destination — silence your phone and focus on the road.
Although it seems we are constantly on the go during the holidays, take some time to remember your safety plan:
● Rest up. Don’t drive drowsy and take breaks from driving every two hours or 100 miles.
● If your celebrations include drinking, designate a sober driver and never let your friends or family drive under the influence. If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911.
● Limit your distractions, silence your phone, and focus on getting to and from your destination safely.
Drowsy, impaired and distracted driving are all preventable. Make sure you’re prepared so we can all Go Safely this holiday season! For more safety tips, visit www.gosafelyca.org.