The holiday season means time with family and friends, time off work, great food, and wonderful memories for many of us. But it can also mean more time spent on the road and more traffic.
As you get ready to visit your loved ones this holiday season, here are 6 tips for safe holiday driving in Fort Worth.
1. Check Your Car Registration and Insurance
When was the last time your car was inspected? Is your vehicle registration current? Before you hit the road for the holidays, make sure that your vehicle is current on its registration, state inspection, and car insurance. Keep in mind that if you’re ever pulled over by a police officer for any reason while driving, they can ask for proof of registration and insurance. And if you’re caught driving without insurance in Texas, you can be fined up to $350, and your license can be suspended. To get your license reinstated, you’ll be required to file an SR-22 proof of financial responsibility, which means higher insurance rates for years to come. This is probably the last thing you want to happen in the middle of the holidays, so do yourself a favor and make sure that your car registration and insurance are up to date.
2. Get Your Car Ready
If you’re about to head on a long road trip, then you’ve probably made sure to pack all the clothes you’ll need, bring snacks and water for the road, and load up your favorite playlists to keep you alert and in a good mood. But, believe it or not, your car needs to get ready for long trips, too. Before you head out on the highway, make sure that your car’s tires are at the optimal pressure — keep in mind that tires tend to deflate in colder weather. You should also make sure there aren’t any unusual lights that are on or flashing on the instrument panel. If so, take your car to a trusted mechanic to fix the issue before it gets worse while you’re on the road. Finally, fuel up your car before the trip and always keep an eye on the fuel tank gauge while driving. If you’re headed through a rural area, keep in mind that gas stations are further apart than in Forth Worth or the suburbs.
3. Plan Your Trip
Whether you’re driving across the state or just across the city, a little planning now will save you a lot of time and frustration later. What will the weather be like? Can you drive a little earlier or later to avoid bad weather? Which major roads and highways are under construction? Can you plan a detour ahead of time to avoid traffic?
The Texas Department of Transportation publishes regular updates on road construction, closures, accidents, and other traffic-related information.
4. Watch Your Speed
We get that with the holidays comes extra stress to get everything right — getting the right gifts before they sell out, getting all the food prepared, and getting to family gatherings on time. But, even if you’re running late for your holiday event, there’s no need to speed. Remember that all the extra holiday traffic means that there will be more highway and traffic police on the lookout for speeding, running red lights, illegal turns, and other traffic violations. And not only are speeding tickets expensive — in Fort Worth, they can range from $200 to over $300 — but they’ll hurt your Texas driving record for three years. That means that saving yourself a few minutes today can mean paying hundreds of dollars down the line in tickets, fees, and insurance premiums.
5. Stay Alert
You probably already realize that driving at night while you’re sleepy is a bad idea. But it’s also harder than you realize to stay alert when you’re driving in the middle of the day, especially when you’ve been on the road for a few hours, and there’s not a lot to keep you stimulated. So, keep yourself alert during your long holiday drive by getting enough rest the night before and taking stretch breaks every couple of hours. You should also have a playlist with the music that keeps you most awake, whether it’s pop, rock, country, opera, or an audiobook.
If you drink coffee or energy drinks to keep you awake throughout the trip, keep in mind that they can lead to an energy crash after the initial boost from sugar and caffeine. If you’re struggling to keep your eyes open during the drive, find the nearest exit or rest stop and take a nap until you feel alert enough to continue.
Remember that drowsy driving is not only dangerous for you, but also for drivers around you.
6. Don’t Drive Impaired
There’s no doubt that the best part of the holidays is talking and laughing with family and friends over some egg nog, wine, beer, or cocktails. We don’t need to go into the details of the dangers of driving while intoxicated but remember that just because you’re spending the evening with family instead of at the bar doesn’t mean that you can let your guard down.
The best way to avoid driving impaired during a holiday gathering is to plan ahead and ask to stay the night with the person hosting the event. If that’s not possible, book a hotel near the home and a taxi to take you there. It’s an extra expense, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as a ticket, increased insurance rates after your DUI, and all of the other costs that come with getting charged with a DUI in Fort Worth. And while Texas doesn’t allow DWI checkpoints like in many other states, keep in mind that police will be on the lookout for signs of drunk driving during the holidays, such as swerving or driving too slow or too fast.
If you absolutely must drive back after a festive evening with friends and family, do the responsible thing and make sure that you’ve arranged a designated driver to take everyone home safely.
Stay Safe on the Road This Holiday Season
Before you drive off this holiday season, make sure that you, your family, and your car are protected on the road. Drivers turn to Baja Auto Insurance to give them peace of mind with affordable car insurance in Fort Worth. All it takes is a few minutes to get a quote for cheap car insurance in Fort Worth. Or you can visit us in person at one of our offices or give us a call at (800) 401 6870.