Driving to Grandma’s This Thanksgiving? Prevent Night Crashes Using These 5 Tips!

You’re all set for Thanksgiving this year. You’ve pre-ordered the turkey at MOM’s Organic Market and your mother-in-law has offered to hold the celebration at her home in Baltimore. The kids are thrilled to spend Thanksgiving at Grandma’s—they’d eat her cornbread and pumpkin pies at every meal if you let them.

There’s only one thing that bothers you about this otherwise perfect arrangement. By the time the dishes are washed and your family is ready to head home to Rockville, it will be dark, and you’ve got at least an hour’s drive ahead of you (probably more if we’re being honest) because of the holiday traffic.

According to the National Safety Council, Thanksgiving is the second most dangerous holiday for crashes, thanks to the number of drivers on the road and the higher likelihood that they will be impaired. Throw in reduced visibility, and you have good reason to be concerned.

Safe night travel requires you to drive with more diligence and care. Here are 5 tips to keep your family safe on the road when the sun goes down.

Tip No. 1: Aim Your Headlights Correctly

A surprising number of cars have unevenly positioned headlights, even brand-new ones. Some vehicles even have them pointed too low, which can cause you to overlook road obstacles until it’s too late. Take your car to the shop to have them checked or position the headlights yourself using instructions in the owner’s manual. While you’re there, get your oil changed, your tires rotated, and make sure your vehicle is ready for the long drive.

Tip No. 2: Wear the Right Eyewear

You’ve probably seen those infomercials stating that yellow-tint sunglasses improve night vision. According to the Sunglass Association of America, any such effect is purely psychological. In fact, these glasses actually reduce the amount of light you can see.

“Sunglasses at Night” may be a great song, but it’s a dubious safety measure. Unless you need them for vision correction, skip the glasses.

Tip No. 3: Always Buckle Up

Make sure everyone in the car is safely buckled up before heading home. National Safety Council statistics suggest that when fastened properly, seat belts reduce the risk of serious injury by 50% and fatality to front seat passengers by 45%.

Check all seat belts and child safety seats for correct and comfortable fit. A worrying four out of five child car seats are not used properly, so before you head out, confirm that:

  • The seat is not too loose
  • The harness straps are all through the right slots
  • The retainer clip is at your child’s armpit level
  • If your child is under the age of two, he or she is facing backward at a 45-degree angle

Tip No. 4: Take a Scenic Route

When you travel on straight highways for long distances, your eyes are held in one position for longer, causing eye tension and fatigue. Taking a route with curves or variations in scenery will lessen the risk of eye strain and make it easier to pay attention to the road ahead.

Tip No. 5: Watch for Impaired Drivers

One of the main reasons why driving at night during a holiday weekend can be so dangerous is that your risk of sharing the road with drunk drivers increases. Although drinking and driving is a lot more prevalent later at night (when the bars are closing and parties are winding down), it can still pose a danger to you earlier in the evening.

Remember: drunk drivers are not always easy to spot. Not everyone swerves all over the road or ends up in a ditch. Someone who appears to be driving normally could still be intoxicated enough to run a red light or swerve suddenly into an oncoming lane. Remain alert at all times and be prepared to drive defensively if danger arises.

We hope that this holiday weekend is a safe and enjoyable one for you and your loved ones, but we also know that the unexpected can happen. If you or any family members are injured in a collision with a drunk or reckless driver, contact the law office of Pérez Halpern, LLC. We are committed advocates for personal injury victims throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. We will guide you through your legal options, support you in whatever way we can, and will work hard for the justice your case deserves.

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