Before you hit the road on your holiday vacation, keep this in mind: safe drivers save more on car insurance! When you’re a conscientious driver, you have a better chance of keeping your family and vehicle safe (not to mention other people on the road). Car insurance companies appreciate that, so they provide you with lower rates.
It’s imperative to follow the rules and drive defensively during the holidays. The National Safety Council estimates that in 2020, 485 people died on the roads during Thanksgiving, 384 people died on the roads on New Year’s Day, and 340 people died on the roads during Christmas.
Don’t be a part of that number. Use these safe holiday driving tips to keep yourself free from harm.
1. Don’t Drink and Drive
Drivers who do not drink and drive are more likely to save on their insurance premiums. You may be tempted to have a seasonal cocktail or two at a holiday party or dinner, but make sure to stay sober if you’re the one driving. To keep everyone safe, assign someone to be the designated driver so there are no miscommunications later in the night.
2. Skip the Distractions
Is Aunt Sally texting to let you know to pick up an extra carton of eggnog before you come over for dinner? Distractions while you’re driving can be deadly. That’s why it’s best to keep your phone on “do not disturb” until you arrive at your destination. That way, you won’t be tempted to check for last-minute texts or emails.
3. Check the Weather Conditions
Late fall and winter weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you’re prepared before you hit the road. Always check the forecast so you know what to expect. If snow or ice is in the mix, consider delaying your trip until the storm passes and the plow trucks have time to work their magic. Or, if there’s no avoiding it, make sure to go slow and give yourself plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you.
4. Perform Routine Maintenance Before You Go
Before any road trip, you should always perform routine maintenance on your car, and that’s especially true in winter. Cold air has a propensity to deflate tires and drain car batteries. Double-check that these are in good shape before you hit the road. You’ll also want to make sure your wiper blades are good in case you hit a rainstorm or snowstorm, your brakes are working, and you have enough oil and other fluids.
5. Switch to Winter Tires
An additional way to stay safe on the road is switching to winter tires. These are specifically designed with slick roads and low temperatures in mind. They’ll give you extra traction on snow and ice to reduce your chances of losing control of your vehicle. If you live in an extremely snow-heavy area, you may even want to keep a set of chains in your car.
6. Pack an Emergency Kit
If the worst happens and you’re in an accident, you need to make sure you have supplies to hold you over until help arrives. An emergency kit should include necessities like food, water, and a first aid kit. Since it will also be winter, you may also want to include extra jackets, hats, and gloves.
7. Take Breaks When Needed
Long stretches on the road can be exhausting, especially when you stayed up too late the previous night celebrating with friends and family. If you feel yourself drifting off, don’t try to power through it. Instead, pull over and either take a short nap or switch drivers. It’s just too risky to keep going, as you may fall asleep at the wheel.
8. Don’t Overeat
Speaking of falling asleep at the wheel, you may feel tired like this if you eat too much. After stuffing yourself on holiday turkey, ham, and all the other fixings, it’s only natural to want to curl up and enter a food coma. Limiting your food intake to normal portions may help you stay more alert while driving.
9. Hit the Roads Before or After the Rush
The roads often get a lot busier around the holidays, as you’re not the only one road-tripping to see loved ones. Unfortunately, more traffic makes the roads less safe. To combat this, see if you can plan your trip a few days before or after the holiday rush. For example, rather than drive the day before Christmas, see if you can try three days before instead.
Safe Drivers Save More on Car Insurance, but There Are Additional Ways to Save
Safe drivers usually get low-cost auto insurance, so that’s always something you should strive to accomplish. However, being safe isn’t the only reason you can get a discount. Some of the other ways you can save big this holiday include:
- Combining your auto and homeowners insurance. Many companies — including Freeway Insurance — offer you a discount for bundling your car insurance and homeowners insurance. It’s a way to thank you for choosing us for multiple policies.
- Taking a defensive driving course. By learning about how to drive defensively, it can help you stay safer on the road. There were 38,680 fatalities in car crashes in 2020, a number that’s rising every year. Making efforts to improve your safety shows your car insurance company that you deserve a discount.
- Adding anti-theft and safety features to your car. Car insurance companies love seeing auto safety features and anti-theft features because it means your car is likely to be safer on the road. Because of that, they’ll often give you a discount.