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The holidays are a dangerous time to drive: Follow these tips

It's common to find yourself on the road during the holiday season. It doesn't matter if you're driving locally or across the country to visit family, it's imperative that your safety takes priority over everything else.

Every year, people are injured and killed in holiday motor vehicle accidents. If you want to avoid trouble this year, here are seven safety tips to guide you:

  • Focus on vehicle maintenance: Before you hit the road, check your vehicle to ensure that it's in good working order. From your windshield wipers to your tire pressure, don't leave any stone unturned.
  • Slow down: Not only can speeding get you in trouble with the law, but it also increases the risk of an accident.
  • Don't drive drowsy: The longer you're on the road, the more likely it is that you'll become drowsy at some point. If this happens, pull over and get some rest before continuing. You can also fight against this by getting enough sleep before you leave home.
  • Avoid distractions: From your cellphone to passengers, distractions are everywhere while driving. Even a small distraction can result in a big accident, so keep your eyes on the road at all times.
  • Plan your route in advance: Doing so allows you to avoid construction, bad areas and traffic.
  • Watch for inclement weather: You could find yourself dealing with rain, strong wind or some other type of inclement weather during your trip. This should alter the way you drive.
  • Give yourself enough time: If you have somewhere to be, leave enough time in your schedule so you don't find yourself in a rush. When you're in a hurry, you're more likely to make a mistake, such as speeding or taking unnecessary chances when passing other vehicles.

One of the biggest issues with holiday driving is the number of people on the road. Add this to the fact that many drivers are prone to make mistakes, and it's easy to see why so many accidents occur during the holiday season.

If you're part of a car accident, don't attempt to take control of the scene on your own. Call 911, as you want police and an ambulance to arrive and provide assistance.

Once you receive initial medical treatment, follow the advice of your doctor to give yourself the best chance of making a recovery. Also, file a claim with your insurance company and learn more about the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.

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