Safe driving: one more reason to give thanks

By on November 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Posted in: Safety and Insurance Issues

Having recently had my beloved 2003 Hyundai Sonata totaled while it was parked innocently on a suburban neighborhood street, I’m a bit more familiar than I’d like to be with the scourge of unsafe driving. I still can’t figure out how the guy who hit my car could have been going that fast on that road, but he managed it somehow.

As a result, I’m thankful for a few more things than usual right now:

1. Nobody was in my car at the time

2. My auto insurance (yes, it’s GEICO)

3. My spiffy new car (yes, another Sonata)

My son is probably somewhat less thankful than I am, as I was contemplating giving him my old Sonata.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I urge one and all to count your blessings, and to do all you can to keep the roads safe for yourselves and your fellow travelers. Toward that end, here are a few simple things we can all do to make that trip over the river and through the woods a bit safer.

  1. Prepare your car. Check the wipers, tire pressure and levels of oil and coolant before you hit the road. Also make sure that you have a vehicle safety kit somewhere in your car. 
  2. Plan your trip. Get directions or program your GPS ahead of time, and allow extra time in case of traffic or other delays. Designate a navigator to guide your expedition and to make sure the driver is always distraction-free.
  3. Never drive in an altered state. It is never safe to drive if you’re drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Get a good night’s sleep before any long trip and pull over immediately to rest if you’re feeling overly tired. Even moderate consumption of alcohol can impair reaction time and judgment, so make sure to have a designated sober driver.
  4. Drive defensively. It’s especially important amid large masses of often anxious drivers to maintain safe speeds and allow more distance between vehicles. When driving in traffic or bad weather, always reduce your speed well in advance of an anticipated stop.
  5. Always wear safety belts, and make sure all your passengers buckle up as well – not just at holiday time, but always.
  6. Be prepared for anything. Keep your auto insurer’s number handy in case you’re involved in an accident.
  7.  Stay focused. During a long drive, you might be tempted to break it up by texting or making cell phone calls. While cell phones can be very helpful in emergency situations, they can also be very distracting. Thanksgiving roadways will be loaded with traffic, so put the phone away and concentrate on driving.

 For more information on safe driving, go to GEICO’s online auto safety library.