Driving home for Christmas? It doesn’t matter if your journey is only five minutes long - you need to take safety precautions when driving on winter roads to visit family or friends. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.
Plan your journey
Roads tend to be busy during the festive season, and although the entire country is quieter these days, Christmas will still see increased traffic on our roads. Drivers will be eager to reach their destination so remember to give yourself some extra time to complete any journeys. If you’re taking a route that you aren’t familiar with, have the directions ready. If travelling with your household, elect somebody to be in charge of directions. This can be a great way to keep the kids entertained for a while too!!
We know how tiring the lead up to Christmas can be, thanks to busy work schedules, trying to wrap your head around what presents to buy and dealing with extra hours of darkness at this time of year. If you feel groggy or sleepy when driving it’s very important that you pull over, drink a coffee and have a 15-minute rest.
There is no journey urgent enough for you to risk your safety and the safety of others. Driver fatigue is attributed to as much as one in five deaths in Ireland every year1 and collisions caused by fatigue are three times more likely to end in fatalities because of the lack of trying to avert the crash as the driver is sleepy or asleep when the crash occurs.2
We’ve got some tips to avoid driver fatigue to help you stay safe on the road.
We’re all guilty of buying more Christmas presents and treats than we’d planned, and this often results in the car being jam-packed. Be sure to pack your car in a way that doesn’t obstruct any of your visibility and windows.
Prepare for the weather
December weather can be erratic in Ireland, and adverse conditions can really make driving more difficult. Always check the weather forecast at www.met.ie and be prepared for your journey ahead. Read our guidelines to check if your car is winter ready.
The inner child in us all secretly hopes for a white Christmas but should that actually happen this year be sure to read up on how to stay safe driving in ice and snow or driving in floods and heavy rain.
Remember, in these conditions, only drive if absolutely necessary and if your journey is essential.
Fill up on fuel
Although none of us will be driving too far from home this festive season, there will be some service stations open on Christmas day but don’t take the chance of leaving yourself short of fuel. Fill your tank before your journey and mark it off your list.
Time and Space
When driving it’s very important to create adequate time and space around your car so that you're in control of your environment as much as possible.
Keeping the kids entertained
Keep the groans of boredom from the backseat to a minimum with the following tips:
- Collection or playlist of Christmas songs to sing along to
- Colouring books, crosswords and magazines
- Take a guess at Santa’s sleigh route and what snacks he’ll eat in each country
- Fully charged iPads or laptops to watch Christmas movies and cartoons!
So, pop on some Christmas songs and have a happy, healthy and safe Christmas, from Aviva.
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