Holiday Driving Tips

Don’t rely on magical reindeer to get you home safely. Plan ahead for a safe ride home before you start your holiday celebrations. You can easily download a ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft, designate a friend or family member, use a taxi, or take public transportation to get home safely.

Make it on the “NICE” list this year by putting the phone down when driving. Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but it is also illegal to have the phone in your hand while driving in Virginia. Use a “do not disturb” phone app or put your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to reach for it while driving. Set music playlists and your GPS before you start the trip.

Stay calm and don’t go dashing through the snow. Speeding greatly reduces the ability to slow a vehicle when necessary or to steer safely around an unexpected curve, another vehicle or hazardous object (like a deer or wild animal) in the road. Slow down especially on icy or snowy roads. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface.

Beware of holiday shoppers. Did you know that about 20% of crashes happen in parking lots and garages? Drivers and pedestrians should remain focused and aware of their surroundings when navigating a parking lot or garage. Be cautious when backing out of a parking spot and do a full check of your surroundings, beyond just relying on the backup camera.

‘Tis the season for Christmas carolers, shoppers, and tacky lights tours. Look out for pedestrians everywhere, at all times. Slow down when you see a pedestrian and give space when passing them. And remember that Virginia law requires drivers to stop at occupied crosswalks and allow pedestrians to cross.

Don’t stress about finding that perfect present. The best holiday gift you can give is your safety. Wearing your seat belt helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle. Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash and is your best defense against a distracted or impaired driver. Buckle up. Every Trip. Every Time.

Keep clear of the flashing lights. Slow down and move over when you see flashing lights on the side of the road. Move over laws are meant to protect law enforcement and emergency vehicle workers from being hit by vehicles passing them. Give them space and use your brakes! Everyone deserves to get home safely for the holidays.

Let it snow and then remove any dirt, ice, and snow from your vehicle sensors and external cameras so all driving features can work properly. It if looks like it is going to be a white Christmas, wait out storms if possible before traveling. If you must travel, share your plans with someone before you leave.

Drive carefully in wintry wonderlands. Do not engage in cruise control, accelerate and decelerate slowly, increase following distance to 10 seconds or more and charge your phone while driving.

Prepare for your visit to grandmother’s house. Go through this checklist before leaving for your holiday road trip:

  • Check the cooling system (fluid level, hoses).
  • Check your tires’ tread depth. Worn tires do not channel water away, increasing the risk of hydroplaning.
  • Check tire pressures. Tire pressure drops as temperatures drop.
  • Check wiper blades. Replace as needed.
  • Add winter-rated wiper fluid.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half-full.
  • Test your battery. Low temperatures reduce battery performance.


For more safe winter driving tips, click here. 


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