How Can I Stay Safe on the Road for Easter Weekend?Published: Apr 4, 2022 in Auto Accident
Easter Sunday falls on April 17 this year. If you are like many people in southern Illinois, you have plans to participate in religious observances and family celebrations.
Good Friday extends the Easter holiday weekend over three days, allowing plenty of time to visit friends and family in the greater St. Louis area, Chicagoland, and other locales.
Easter is the first significant springtime travel holiday, and as such it is likely to rain or experience other inclement weather. Whether you are traveling or far, in good weather or bad, the following tips will help you to stay safe on the road for Easter weekend.
Ready Your Vehicle for Holiday Travel
You cannot drive safely if you do not have a fully operational vehicle. Inspect your car and schedule necessary maintenance for it to help make your travels safe. Inspecting the tire treads and brakes will help to ensure you have good traction and brakes for smooth stops.
You should inspect the headlights, brake lights, taillights, and turn signals to make sure all are working. If one or more has a burned-out bulb, a quick and affordable replacement will make it right.
The wiper blades are important for ensuring that you can see clearly while driving. Worn-out wiper blades can smear rainwater, bird droppings, and bugs that might collect on the windshield instead of removing them from your field of vision. Good wiper blades and topping off the windshield washer fluid reservoir will help aid in maintaining clear visibility.
Make a Plan
Easter weekend can be busy, especially if you intend to take your family to religious observances, family gatherings, and a traditional Easter egg hunt. Many churches hold services on Good Friday as well as Easter Sunday. Your plans might include attending both.
You need to assess the amount of time that you will have against the number of planned activities in advance. You should leave plenty of time to do the important things, but still allow time to rest and get a good night’s sleep.
Planning your driving route is especially beneficial. Spring break traffic heading to Chicago or St. Louis could make the roads even busier than usual. It helps to avoid driving during peak traffic hours.
Use Seatbelts and Child Safety Seats
The potential for a car accident is higher during holidays, including Easter. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) says you and your passengers are about 10 times more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury in a car accident if you do not use seatbelts.
You need to wear your seatbelt and make sure that your passengers do the same. The combination of seatbelts and airbags can help to protect against serious injuries if an accident occurs.
If you have one or more young children traveling with you, child safety seats are needed to protect them. The safety seat should be installed correctly for it to work. Following the directions provided with the seat will help you to do that.
Reduce Your Potential Distractions
Distracted driving is a leading cause of deadly accidents on U.S. roadways. Manually using your cellphone while driving in Illinois is illegal. You are allowed to use hands-free devices to communicate with those who might call.
Even if you have a hands-free device, it is best to leave your cellphone off while you are driving. The potential for distracted driving always is higher when your cellphone is on and within arm’s reach.
Your phone is not the only potential distraction. Playing the audio at high volume, adjusting climate or stereo settings, and turning to talk to one or more passengers could distract you, too. Even eating while driving could become a distraction.
You need to do your best to minimize the potential distractions to stay focused on driving.
Do Not Speed or Follow Too Closely
Excessive speed is the most common factor in accidents, injuries, and road-going deaths. You should try to abide by the speed limit and avoid exceeding the speed limit.
Your planning for the trip should have included allowing time for driving in potentially-congested traffic. You also should include driving breaks in your travel itinerary so that you can stay rested and alert while driving.
If it takes longer than expected to get to your destination, you still should not drive faster to make up for lost time.
It is also important to maintain a safe following distance. A three-second gap is ideal when road conditions are good.
If you encounter bad weather while driving, you should increase your following distance. Increasing your following distance will give you more time to react to changing traffic conditions, possibly avoiding an accident.
Be Wary of Alcohol and Recreational Cannabis
Your Easter weekend plans might include having some drinks with friends and family. Moderation is the key to enjoying alcohol without causing a hangover. You should avoid driving even if you intend to only have one or two drinks.
Illinois has legal marijuana, which you might want to use if you are over the age of 21, but you should be aware of the potential criminal penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana if you are pulled over shortly after imbibing.
Alcohol and marijuana use can add to your potential fatigue. A lack of focus caused by the use of alcohol or marijuana can wreak havoc on your reaction times and cognitive abilities, leading to an accident.
As always, it is best to drive while completely sober. If sobriety is not an option, then a using a designated driver, calling a cab, or using a rideshare service are all excellent ways to get around.
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