Safe driving tips for the holiday season

Last updated: 12-26-2019

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Safe driving tips for the holiday season

During November and December, there is such a rush to prepare for the holiday season that roadways often become more dangerous. "We see more fatalities during this time of year because there is a higher percentage of vehicles on the road, meaning a higher percentage of unrestrained individuals as well," said Andrew Bennett, Public Information Officer for Zero Fatalities. "Be sure you buckle up every time you're traveling in a vehicle." With the addition of inclement weather conditions, it's crucial that you use caution and drive safely. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority reports that 52% of the Valley's visitors arrived via ground transportation in 2018. "Statistically, the most dangerous thing anyone does each day is drive from point A to point B," Bennett said. "Going to visit family over the holidays is a meaningful action, so make it meaningful by driving safely." Practice these tips:

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reports that an unbelted motorist is 75% more likely to be killed in a crash. With the possibility of inclement winter weather worsening road conditions statewide, it is imperative that drivers and passengers are buckled up. Seatbelts take two seconds to fasten. "We want everyone to make it home safely and to be able to enjoy the holidays with their family," Bennett said. "Don't forget to remind other passengers to wear their seatbelts too."

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation, 7% of Nevada crashes in 2018 were caused by driving too fast for icy, wet and snowy conditions. Low visibility and slick roads also contributed to an increase in crashes during inclement weather conditions. "If it's snowing or raining, your braking will be reduced, so it's important to increase your following distance," Bennett said. Remember that speed limits are based on normal road conditions, not rain or snow conditions. If you're not comfortable driving in bad weather, don't do it.

Nevada's Distracted Driving Law makes it illegal to handle a cellphone or electronic device (including a GPS) while driving. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that distracted driving was the cause of 3,450 deaths nationally. Drivers should also avoid eating or drinking, grooming, or adjusting music while operating a motor vehicle. The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety urges drivers to eliminate distractions that may take their focus off the road.

"People tend to make poor decisions when they feel rushed—that, compounded with inclement weather, can be a recipe for disaster," Bennett said. "Leave earlier than you think you should and give yourself extra travel time."

Stay informed on weather forecasts and avoid traveling during extreme conditions. Make sure your vehicle is secure and equipped for any weather that may come your way. The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety recommends appropriate snow tires and chains when required, and a regular check to make sure windshield wipers, brakes, lights and defrosters are working properly.

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