Holiday driving can be stressful, with crowded roads and potential inclement weather. In fact, NOAA anticipates unpredictable weather patterns this winter. However, following some best practices can help make your holiday travels safer and more enjoyable.

Plan Ahead

First, plan your route ahead of time and check for any potential traffic delays or road closures. This can help you avoid getting stuck in traffic and allow you to adjust your route if necessary. Consider using a navigation app or online map to help you plan the most efficient route. If you can, avoid driving at night when it is more difficult to see and others may be sleepy or impaired. Make sure you cell phone is fully charged before leaving.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is in Good Condition

Second, make sure your vehicle is in good working order before embarking on your trip. This includes checking your tires, brakes, fluids, and lights to ensure they are all functioning properly. Also, make sure to have an emergency kit in your car, including a spare tire, jumper cables, and basic tools in case of any unexpected mechanical issues.

Take Your Time

Third, allow extra time for your trip and avoid rushing. This will help reduce stress and increase your ability to make safe driving decisions. Also, avoid distractions while driving, such as using your phone or eating, and focus on the road ahead.

Check for Bad Weather

Fourth, be prepared for potential inclement weather. This may include checking the weather forecast before your trip and packing appropriate supplies, such as blankets, water, and snacks, in case you get stranded on the road. If you encounter heavy snow or ice, reduce your speed and increase your following distance to allow for extra time to stop.

Avoid Medications or Food that Cause Drowsiness

Fifth, make sure any medications you may be taking are non-drowsy. If possible, avoid taking any medications that may cause drowsiness prior to getting behind the wheel. Avoid over-eating or consuming foods that may make you sleepy. If you find yourself tired, pull over and call a friend.

Practice Defensive Driving

Sixth, always practice defensive driving. Unfortunately, more drivers tend to operate their vehicles while intoxicated or drunk during the holidays and especially on St. Patrick’s Day, Labor Day, and New Years. Avoid driving in congested areas or late at night, if possible, on or around the holidays. If you must drive, be aware of your surroundings and especially be aware of erratic drivers on the road. Avoid them. Never get in a vehicle where you suspect the driver has been drinking or may be intoxicated.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a winter or holiday wreck, contact one of the personal injury attorneys at The Jewkes Firm for a free consultation or second opinion. We can be reached at 770-741-2517 or by visiting the website at