Driving safely should be a priority year-round, but winter and the holidays can be particularly dangerous times for California drivers. Vacations in new places, crowded roads, and the effects cold weather has on vehicles can all increase the odds of a crash. A car accident could lead to spending the rest of the season in recovery. Do your part to prevent car accidents in El Cajon with several tips and best practices for safe driving.
Do Not Text and Drive
Distracted driving kills. The law in California prohibits drivers from using any handheld electronic device in any way while driving. Drivers cannot text, call, or check emails using a handheld device. The law does permit hands-free use of cell phones, using voice-operated systems and other hands-free devices. Obey the law and protect your fellow drivers by putting your cell phone down while driving. If you must use your phone, do so through a hands-free technology to minimize distraction.
Prepare Your Trip Ahead of Time
Another common form of driver distraction is trying to find the destination on a map or in an app while driving. Preparing ahead can help a driver map out a route before getting behind the wheel. It can also prepare the driver for road conditions or bad weather he or she may encounter on the journey. Advanced preparation is especially important if you are traveling somewhere new this season, such as on a ski trip or family vacation. Look at the road, weather, and tips for travelers where you will be going.
Create Passenger Rules
Winter road trips often involve a car full of kids, friends, or pets. Improve your safety as a driver by making a code of conduct for passengers. Enforce rules, such as no kids fighting or climbing around in the car, all passengers buckled in their seats at all times, and a limit on how much noise everyone can make. If you will be driving overnight, do not let passengers sleep up front, in the passenger seat. This can contribute to your own drowsiness. Instead, reserve the backseat for napping and the front seat for someone who can talk to you and help keep you awake.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving contributed to more than 72,000 car accidents in the U.S. the most recent year data is available. Drowsy driving is most likely in winter when the sun sets earlier and drivers turn on the heat in their vehicles. Long trips for family vacations can also increase the risk of tired drivers. Avoid drowsy driving by getting plenty of rest before a long drive. Try to keep most of your driving hours during the day, rather than at night when you are usually asleep. If you notice signs of drowsiness, such as long blinks or frequent yawning, pull over and rest.
Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving refers to expecting the unexpected. Do not assume all other drivers will obey the rules and keep you safe. Instead, assume the opposite. Assume other motorists do not see you, are texting and driving and may run into you if you do not prevent a collision. Watch what others are doing around you, and always prepare to maneuver away from a driver if necessary. Leave at least two seconds of space between you and the vehicle in front of you, or four seconds if you will be driving in bad weather, snow, or sleet this season.
Obey All Roadway Rules
Speeding, drunk driving, unsafe lane changes, and ignoring others’ rights-of-way are common causes of California car accidents. If every driver followed roadway rules, the number of crashes would drop significantly. Follow all applicable rules when driving in El Cajon, including paying attention to speed limits and roadway signs. Do not tailgate, change lanes without looking, or engage in other practices that could risk your life. This season, arrive alive to your destination.