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– the National Law Journal

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Planning can prevent auto accidents during holiday road trips

With the onset of the winter holidays, many in California and across the U.S. are excitedly making plans to visit family and friends. Many of those plans include lengthy road trips. While people are looking forward to the excitement that accompanies holiday celebrations, they may not stop to consider that with the increased number of drivers on the road during the holidays, the likelihood of getting into an auto accident also increases. However, with some careful planning, people can lessen their chances of getting into a motor vehicle accident during holiday travel.

Vehicle maintenance

A major contributor to auto accidents is vehicles malfunctioning due to poor maintenance. Making sure a vehicle is in good working order is essential prior to a long road trip. People should run through a complete general maintenance checklist prior to leaving for a road trip, including:

  • Changing the oil.
  • Checking the coolant.
  • Checking windshield wiper blades and windshield cleaning fluid level.
  • Ensuring all lights are working.
  • Making sure the tire pressure is correct and the tread on the tires is adequate.
  • Examining belts, caps, filters and hoses.
  • Making sure the brakes are functioning properly.

Trip preparations

In addition to preparing vehicles for road trips, drivers need to prepare themselves to make sure that they are safe. It is important for driers to get plenty of sleep prior to departing, as drowsy driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents, according to the National Sleep Foundation. People should map out their routes and become familiar with the roads they will travel so they do not need to try to do so en route. It is also wise to check the weather report prior to departing in order to anticipate any inclement weather that may occur along the way.

Defensive driving

Practicing defensive driving habits can also reduce the chances of an auto accident. Defensive driving includes:

  • Scanning the road and checking mirrors for potential hazards.
  • Watching for drivers who are tailgating or aggressive.
  • Following other vehicles at a safe distance.
  • Obeying traffic laws, especially the speed limit.
  • Remaining focused on driving and not being distracted.
  • Having an escape route in case the immediate path in front of the vehicle should become blocked.
  • Anticipating dangers.

Speak with an attorney

Even though a driver may take all the appropriate safety precautions to avoid an auto accident, not every other driver on the road is as careful. When a driver’s negligence causes a motor vehicle accident, the innocent victims should not have to bear the cost. If you have been injured in an auto accident caused by another, talk to a skilled auto accident attorney with a proven record of obtaining compensation for motor vehicle accident victims who can help you recover for your losses.