Traveling during holidays can be stressful. The following are a few tips to help you arrive at your destination safely:
- Buckle up - drivers and passengers.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Avoid crowded roads by starting as early as possible. Traffic picks up on the highways the day before a holiday and continues through the weekend.
- If you are driving through any major metropolitan areas, leave time for construction delays and other congestion.
- Check the weather in your town, your destination, and points along the way.
- Be prepared by having a good travel kit for your trunk including snow chains, an ice scraper, a good pair of gloves, flares and a flashlight. Warm blankets, water and snacks are a good idea, too.
- Let the people you are visiting know your route and your expected time of arrival.
- Don't speed. The leading cause of collisions in North Carolina is speed. Every 17 minutes, someone is killed or injured on N.C. highways in a speed-related accident. Speeding doesn't save that much time on a longer trip.
- Take breaks when going long distances. AAA recommends that drivers stop every two hours for a 15-minute break.
- Turn on your headlights and leave them on throughout the trip.
- Stay out of the pack of cars to leave you room for any sudden stops.
- Steer into a skid. Take your foot off the gas, but do not brake. If you have to brake and you have antilock brakes, apply a firm and steady pressure to the brake pedal. In older cars without anti-lock brakes, gently pump the brake pedal.
Don't drink and drive
- Alcohol effects judgement. If you drink alcohol, don't make a bad decision to drive.
- If you drink, either stay home, or have a designated driver or take a cab.
- Don't let your designated driver drink alcohol.
- Remember that it doesn't take a lot of alcohol to reach the legal limit of .08. Many people who are arrested don't feel impaired.
- Party hosts should make sure their guests don't drink and drive. Either offer them a place to spend the night or get them a taxi.
- Over-the-counter breath analyzers may not be as accurate as the ones used by law enforcement -- so don't trust their results as to whether you are sober enough to drive. When in doubt, don't drive.
- Motorists with cellular phones can report safety hazards, including suspected drunken drivers, to the Highway Patrol by dialing *HP (*47) toll free.
Being charged with driving while impaired is an expensive experience. For a first offender who hires a lawyer for a trial, the cost can be at a minimum of $2,500. The fines alone can add up to $4,000.