It’s almost New Year’s Eve, and while New Year’s Eve is frequently full of fond memories, resolutions, and celebrations, it’s also a night often marked by serious or fatal car crashes. People enjoy ringing in the new year in various ways, many of which involve alcohol. If you are planning to drive somewhere to ring in the new year, make sure you’re prepared and have a plan for staying safe.
Here are a few safety tips we’ve put together so you can make sure to stay safe this New Year’s Eve.
TIP #1: Defensive Driving
If you must drive on New Year’s Eve, make sure to use defensive driving strategies. A defensive driver will always be thinking ahead. This can help you avoid potential collisions. Some of the actions you can take to help you drive defensively include:
- Slow down as you approach intersections, even if you have a green light.
- Do not assume that everyone will see or stop for a red light or a stop sign. Many wrecks are caused by people running stop signs or red lights, so make sure you keep an eye on other vehicles and look left, right, then left again before proceeding through an intersection.
- Do not use cell phones or other devices while driving. If you need to use your GPS, put in the address before you begin driving, pull over, or have a friend type the address in for you.
- If you have trouble seeing in the dark but need to travel late at night, plan to have a friend drive you or use a ride sharing service.
- Keep enough distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Make sure there’s enough space for you to stop or react if the vehicle in front of you were to stop suddenly, swerve, blow out a tire, etc.
TIP #2: Plan Ahead
If you are planning to use substances while you’re out celebrating, make a plan ahead of time for how you will get home. You may think you’re fine to drive if you’ve only had a drink or two, but a number of factors affect a person’s blood alcohol levels, and you may not be as sober as you think. Additionally, alcohol and other substances tend to impair a person’s decision-making ability, so after a drink or two, you may not be in the best state of mind to accurately assess your ability to drive. In order to avoid any potential issues, if you know you’re going to drink, make a plan ahead of time. This way, you’re less likely to get behind the wheel. Some of the things you can to do plan ahead include:
- Arrange for you or a friend to serve as the designated driver for your group.
- Consider using a ride-sharing service. Many of these services have apps you can install on your phone. If you install the app ahead of time and set up your account, requesting a ride may be just a couple clicks away.
TIP #3: Vehicle Safety
Before you head out for New Year’s Eve, make sure your vehicle is safe to drive. Check your vehicle for the following:
- Make sure you have enough gas so you don’t end up stranded on the roadside.
- Windshield Wipers. If the weather forecast is calling for snow, sleet, or rain, make sure your windshield wipers work and have plenty of life left in them; replace them if needed.
- Gauges and Warning Lights. Turn on your vehicle and check your dashboard for any warning lights. If you have a warning light on and don’t have time to get your car to an auto repair shop, you may want to find another ride to your New Year’s Eve destination.
- Make sure you have enough tread left in all four tires and that no threads are showing. Also, check your tire pressure to make sure your tires all have the recommended air pressure. Low tread or air pressure can impair your vehicle’s ability to stop suddenly or maneuver quickly to avoid a dangerous situation or collision.
- Make sure all of your lights are working including your headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals.
At Burton Law Firm, we see too many people who have been injured by a drunk or impaired driver, and we want you to be able to enjoy your New Year’s Eve while also staying safe. Safety is about making good decisions for yourself and your loved ones, but it’s also about planning for the fact that other drivers on the road may be impaired. If you plan to be on the roads on New Year’s Eve, make sure you review the above tips beforehand.
As we head into a new year, please know that all of us here at Burton Law Firm are grateful to our friends, family, and colleagues, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to have assisted so many in our community. Here’s to the memories we made, our family and friends, and to a new year to come. At Burton Law Firm, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year. Stay safe!