With so much going on around the holidays, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Things you might be adamant about during other parts of the year might get set aside as you take on more projects around the holidays. Decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping gifts, and spending time with family can distract from important safety protocol. Maybe you didn’t check the gauges on your vehicle before leaving for a long trip. Perhaps you neglected to pack snow chains or a spare tire. Regardless of what the situation, having car trouble while traveling for the holidays can be very dangerous.
Now is a great time of year to remind people of important vehicle safety measures. Whether your businesses is responsible for a fleet of vehicles or you just want to remind your employees of the potential potential dangers here’s
What to Do If…
You’re Experiencing Car Trouble
Traveling is stressful enough, but around the holidays it can be worse. Extra traffic, icy roads, and snowy conditions can make driving a little hectic. The last thing anyone wants is to get caught in an accident or break down on the side of the road. Here’s what to do if you are caught in a traffic incident during your holiday commute:
Vehicle Breakdowns and Flat Tires
Always pull over as far away from oncoming traffic as possible. Be careful when getting out of the vehicle and do your best to avoid standing near oncoming traffic. Set up reflective road signs or road flares a few feet away from your vehicle to alert oncoming drivers that you are there. This is especially important at night time. Contact AAA, your insurance company, or a local towing service for roadside assistance in making repairs or removing the vehicle from the side of the road and to a repair shop.
Stuck in a Snowbank
Use flairs or reflectors to alert passing vehicles that you are there. Attempt to free the vehicle by digging the snow away from the tires. Clear snow away from the vehicle’s tailpipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. If you do not have snow chains, place your car’s floor mats under the tires to increase traction for your tires as you try to maneuver out of the snow. Call for a tow truck if you can not get your vehicle out of the snow safely. Call for emergency assistance if needed. If trapped for a significant amount of time with the inability to make a phone call, find something to make a flag to attach to your car’s antenna to alert possible passing cars that you are there. Stay bundled and do not remove your clothing. Find extra layers to put on or blankets if possible. Only run the vehicle intermittently for heat. DO NOT run the vehicle nonstop as this can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning and burn gasoline that may be needed when help arrives to free your vehicle. Stay in the vehicle for as long as possible in order the shelter from the cold. Only get out to clear the windshield and tailpipe every so often. Stay alert for passing vehicles so that you can honk your car’s horn or wave for them to stop and assist you.
Car Accidents Without Injuries
STOP and do not drive away from the scene. Call for emergency assistance and have a police officer arrive on scene to fill out an accident report. Take pictures of the damages done to both vehicles. Exchange insurance information with the other driver and contact your own insurance company if necessary. Follow up with the claims process as instructed by your insurance company.
Car Accidents With Injuries
STOP and do not drive away from the scene. Call for emergency medical assistance and receive treatment for any and all injuries. Cooperate with law enforcement to provide information, accident details, and exchange insurance company information with the other involved party.
Fleet Drivers and Company Cars
Be sure your driver’s license and driving record are valid and clean. Follow all company prerequisite guidelines including safety checks BEFORE getting into the vehicle. Be sure the vehicle has had periodic maintenance and is insured by a fleet insurance provider. If involved in a car accident, follow all accident procedures and then contact the company’s Human Resources department or Vehicle Management department to report the incident.
Other Important Safety Tips
- Always do routine safety checks of your vehicle before traveling. Pack a road side safety kit and include extras like a blanket and gloves in the winter.
- NEVER consume drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
- Always travel with a fully charged cellphone or other mobile device.
- Be sure you are well rested before traveling. Do not drive if you are drowsy or taking medications that could make you drowsy.
- Never text and drive.
- Drive slowly and stay alert. Be mindful of ice and snow on the roads.
Follow our blog for updates! For more tips on surviving the holidays, follow our What to Do If series. We have safety tips and information on what to do if you are experiencing: