Tag Archives: Driving Tips

The 10 Worst Days of the Year to Drive

Motorcycle-in-traffic-thumb-240xauto-4553According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, AAA, and other various sources, there are a number of days each year where it is clearly more dangerous on the road. The following are the top ten worst days of the year to drive:

1. Memorial Day Weekend – This holiday weekend is often considered to be the start of summer. Many people make special plans that typically involve traveling and there is an increase in alcohol consumption. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that about 44% of all traffic fatalities that occur over Memorial Day weekend are alcohol-related.

2. The first Monday after Daylight Saving Time starts – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that traffic fatalities on the Monday after changing to Daylight Saving Time increases by about 17 percent.

3. Black Friday – People flock to malls and stores, leading to overcrowded parking lots and increased traffic in concentrated areas. Progressive Insurance found that the number of claims on Black Friday doubled and parking lot claims rose by 36 percent, with many of the accidents being rear-end accidents.

4. NFL Game Day – The Highway Loss Data Institute did a study that revealed claim frequency around a stadium increases on game day. A home-team win only raises collision claims by about 3 percent, while a home-team loss raises claims by about 9 percent, likely due to aggressive driving.

5. Friday the 13th –A large UK insurance company, Aviva, found that collision claims went up by about 13 percent on Friday the 13th when compared with other days during the same month. No matter what season Friday the 13th fell in, the numbers always increased. The study also found that about 9 percent of drivers keep a lucky charm in their car.

6. New Year’s Day – Surprisingly it is New Year’s Day, not New Year’s Eve, which is more dangerous. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data, January 1st ranked as the number 1 day of the year with the highest percent of deaths related to alcohol. New Year’s Day is also one of the highest days for car theft.

7. The 4th of July – According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 4th is the second deadliest day of the year for drunk drivers with about 42 percent of accidents involving a drunk driver.

8. Thanksgiving – An increased amount of cars on the road across the U.S. makes Thanksgiving one of the busiest travel periods during the year. Since Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, many travelers are also on the road on that Wednesday.

9. Christmas –The Christmas season can be stressful for people, which can lead to more accidents. A state farm survey found that 32 percent of drivers were more likely to be aggressive and have road rage during the holidays.

10. St. Patrick’s Day – St. Patrick’s Day festivities typically include a lot of alcohol intake. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that two out of five car crash fatalities on St. Patrick’s Day involved a drunk driver.

Remember to take extra precautions when driving on these dangerous days!

Spring Safety Driving Tips

driving-rainThe transition from winter to spring brings different situations and challenges for drivers. Here are some tips to keep you driving safely during the spring:

Slow Down – While the snow may be gone, springtime can bring slick roads and wet driving conditions. Water can mix with oil and road dust to create slippery roads. Visibility can be compromised due to heavy rain, mist, and fog. Avoid using cruise control or turning sharply during wet weather because it can reduce traction. It is important to adjust your speed accordingly and increase your following distance.

Avoid Puddles – Driving through large puddles can cause hydroplaning, decreased visibility, and impaired brakes, all of which could cause you to lose control of your car. It can also impair visibility for other motorists near you. If you can’t avoid a puddle, gently ease your foot off of the accelerator and do not brake.

Be Aware of the Weather – Spring weather can fluctuate between warm and cold temperatures. Depending on where you live, the roads may still get icy during the spring months. Rain may freeze overnight, and can deceivingly look like water, so it is important to take a look at the weather and road conditions before you drive anywhere.

Avoid Potholes – The aftermath of winter weather usually results in many potholes. Driving over potholes can damage tires and throw off a car’s alignment. If you can’t go around a pothole, slow down and gently pass over it.

Prepare Your Vehicle – Make sure your windshield wipers can effectively clear water from your windshield, keep your tires inflated to reduce damage from potholes, and change your cabin air filter to reduce pollutants that may contribute to allergies. Also check to make sure your tires have proper tread depth and that all of your lights are working. While driving, turn on your fan and defroster to keep your windshield clear of moisture.

Share the Road – Warmer weather means that there will be more pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists on the roads. Be aware of who else is on the road with you and make it a priority to look out for others.

Check Medication Side-Effects – Many people suffer with seasonal allergies during the spring and cope by taking over-the-counter allergy medications. Many of these drugs have side-effects that include drowsiness or blurred vision, which may impact your driving ability. If you’ll be driving, check the label of any medication you are taking. If you experience side effects, wait it out or ask someone else to drive.

Stay Focused – Warmer weather may make us want to roll down the windows, turn up the music, and enjoy the sights that we pass by, but it’s important to always stay focused on the road!

Summer Safety – Road Trips

Summer is the season for sunny getaways.  Every summer, people take to the road with friends and family.  Before you pack up the car and head out, here are some safety tips from Davis & Gelshenen to make sure your road trip goes along without a hitch:

1. Pack Light

SUV’s and minivans have a tendency to be top heavy.  While it may be tempting to strap some more gear to the top of your SUV, remember that added weight on top increases your vehicle’s chances of rolling over.  No matter what kind of vehicle you own, packing excessive weight to the rear or top of the vehicle impairs the steering and changes your stopping distance ability.

When loading up your car, make sure that your rear window visibility is not impaired. The driver’s ability to see out all windows is crucial to vehicle safety.  This safety step also prevents cargo from falling onto passengers in the event of a sudden stop or accident.

2. Vehicle Maintenance

Making sure that your vehicle is ready for the road is an important step in making sure you make it to your destination safely.  Don’t get on the road without making sure that your maintenance is up to date.

This includes checking your car battery, brake pads, oil and coolant.  Consult with your local automotive shop to clarify that your tires are in good condition and don’t leave home without a tire gauge, jack, and lug wrench in your vehicle.

3. Child Safety

See our earlier post about Child Safety Seating to get comprehensive and up to date information on making sure kids are safe on your trip.

4. Driver Safety

Distracted driving has become a hot issue with the expansion of cell phone technology.  Make sure that the driver on your Road Trip is not distracted with text messaging, phone conversations, and other portable electronic devices such as GPS, laptops, and video screens.

Passengers should take over the use of these gadgets.  If you are driving solo, pull over to the side of the road if it is imperative you use the device.

If neither of these are an option, make sure to use bluetooth enabled headsets to minimize hand-held electronic distraction.

5. Staying Alert

Driver fatigue is most commonly encountered on long road trips.  Fatigue can cause delayed reaction time, veering of your vehicle, and misjudging of traffic signals and situations.

Make sure to follow these helpful tips to prevent driver fatigue:

  • Schedule regular breaks throughout your trip. Try to take breaks every two hours on the road.
  • Don’t work a full day before taking your road trip.
  • Don’t drink alcohol the night before driving.
  • Share driving responsibilities.
  • Avoid driving during regular sleeping hours.

Following these simple steps will ensure you reach your destination safely.  Not having to worry about breakdowns or accidents will make your summer road trip exciting, fun, and stress free   Taking some time out for precautions is the best way to protect yourself and your family this summer.

(Photo Credit- Zachary Tewalthomas 2009)