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Tips to stay safe and sane on the road during the holidays

The holiday season is about to be in full swing. The shopping malls are going to be overflowing with people, the parking lot at the supermarket will be full, and everyone on the road in Belleville is going to be dashing from one place to another trying to find that perfect gift. In addition to the madness, the weather is starting to become more erratic, increasing the likelihood of a car accident. In general, getting behind the wheel during the holidays is necessary but dangerous.

It's critical to follow the usual safety rules of not drinking and driving, always wearing your seat belt, and staying within the speed limit. But there are other things you can do to stay safe this holiday season.

Do a maintenance check

Make sure your car is running properly. This does not mean just checking the oil level and brake fluid, but ensuring the lights are working properly, your tires are in good condition and the battery is not on its last legs. Take a day and drop it off at the shop so that your preferred mechanic can check your car over before you make the six-hour drive to your in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan the route

If you are heading out of town, plan your route in advance. Also, pay attention to the weather and check the traffic conditions in the areas you plan to drive through. If things do not look good, you may have to choose an alternate route to get to your destination. A GPS system is usually helpful, but toss a road map in the glove compartment just in case.

Get plenty of rest

Be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. Hitting the road for a long drive while suffering from a lack of sleep can be extremely dangerous. Take a break every two hours to stretch your legs and get the blood flowing. Even with eight hours of sleep, it is easy to lose focus on long drives if you do not take periodic breaks.

Take it easy

Do not let yourself become frustrated while driving. You will probably end up in heavy traffic, have to dodge a distracted driver or deal with less than optimal weather conditions. Becoming angry or frustrated will not help these situations. Instead, if you try to relax and stay patient, you will eventually get to your destination.

With a little planning and forethought, driving during the holidays does not have to be a nightmare. Unfortunately, all the planning in the world may not help you avoid an accident with another driver. If you have been involved in a car wreck with a distracted or negligent driver, you may be able to file a claim for damages you suffered.

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