There are few festive traditions as cherished as the Christmas party. December is, after all, a time for unwinding and sharing time with people we genuinely want to spend time with while spreading the festive spirit and imbibing epic amounts of food and booze. It’s the one part of Christmas we can all look forward to and participate in, regardless of age or even religion, as so many of us celebrate Christmas as a secular event these days anyway.
But one unfortunate side-effect of the Christmas party is the fact that, with busier roads and more distracted drivers, it’s the time of year when road traffic accidents are at their highest. With that in mind, we’ve put together some essential tips to consider when planning your journey to this year’s festive gathering.
Plan Your Route and Timing Carefully
Before setting off on your journey, plan your route. Use a reliable GPS or navigation app like Google Maps to avoid traffic congestion and road closures and think about alternate routes in case accidents happen and roads get closed. Always have an estimated time of arrival that allows for potential delays due to heavy holiday traffic and set off at least an hour earlier than you would any other time of year.
Distraction can be just as dangerous as inebriation, with many accidents in recent years being a result of mobile phone use behind the wheel rather than alcohol or drug use. Avoid using your mobile phone or engaging in any activities that divert your attention from the road. If you need to use your phone, pull over at a safe location or have a hands-free kit installed.
Vehicle Maintenance and Safety Checks
Prioritise your safety by conducting thorough vehicle maintenance checks. Ensure that your brakes, tires, lights, and wipers are in good working condition and that you have a spare tyre, jack, and emergency tools in case of unforeseen issues. If you’re 6 months on either side of an MOT, you might want to consider getting an interim car service with a professional garage to ensure everything is in tip-top condition.
Stay Well-Rested and Hydrated
Fatigue is a common cause of accidents during long drives so get a good night’s sleep before your journey and take regular breaks to stretch and hydrate. Avoid excessive caffeine intake too, as while it might make you feel more awake at first, it can lead to dehydration and jitteriness. It should also go without saying that you should avoid alcohol completely before getting behind the wheel. We know one drink might be technically legal, but it will hamper your reflexes, and with icy conditions and more cars on the roads you’re going to need 100% of your wits about you.