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Distracted Driving During the Holidays

Christmas is next Tuesday, which means we only have one week left to get everything ready for our families. Whether we are cooking, shopping or traveling for Christmas, we all have about a million things going on 

in our minds. The times of the year that are more hectic are often translated on the road. And the holiday season is arguably one of the most hectic times of the year, due to all of the distractions that surround it. Take note of these tips so that your preparations for Christmas are safe.

Cell Phones Usage During Holidays

There is a twofold reason why cell phones are used more during the holiday season. The first reason is the amount of preparations that are often needed for the holidays. One study mentioned that distracted driving increases about 33% during the holiday season. People are communicating with their family members and this can be a huge distraction when someone is driving. They may be talking about what gifts to get and where to find them or they might be traveling to see family members who may want updates (“I’m stuck in traffic but on my way!”). Regardless of the reason, it is never a good idea to call or text other people while driving.

Smartphone Notifications

Even if you are careful about when you choose to communicate with others, your phone can still be alerting you a lot more than normal. Due to the high amounts of shopping around the holiday season, the apps on your phone will be alerting you more often.  You will also be getting more emails from subscriber lists. Retail businesses understand that this is the most prolific time of year, and every single one of them is going to want to inform you of their holiday deals. If you hear your phone buzzing a lot while you are driving, you might understandably think someone is trying to reach you for something important. This can be dangerous because even if we aren’t aren’t inclined to text, just hearing our phone buzzing is a temptation to just glance at our phone to see what is going on. Research even suggests that even just hearing your phone buzz can distract you enough from paying attention.

To account for some of these potential distractions, we recommend making some changes to your phone’s settings. The quickest and easiest thing to do to make sure you are not distracted is to use a “Do Not Disturb” feature on your smartphone when you are about to drive. If you have an iPhone, you can turn this feature on in two quick steps. This will prevent you from hearing any notifications on your phone as they appear so that you are not distracted. Another option would be to manage the notifications you receive from your apps in your phone’s settings. This will ensure that you are not getting unnecessary notifications all the time. If you like to keep email notifications on, it could be a good idea to unsubscribe from mailing lists that are not very important to you. Many retailers send multiple emails a day during the holiday season. And lastly, if you are going to do a lot of driving, it is always a good practice to inform your spouse/family members that you will be on the road so they won’t try to contact you while you’re driving.

Aggressive Driving

People who are aggressive on the road or have road rage are often feeling very stressed. For some people, the holiday season can be very stressful. We give a lot of time and money for our loved ones, and getting everything we need to get can bring a lot of anxiety. Keep this in mind when you are about to start driving.

Staying Calm

If you find that you get particularly stressed this time of year, there are a couple of things you can do to remain calm. The biggest problem sometimes is we don’t give ourselves enough time to get everything done. Being rushed as a driver can be very unsafe and make us want to make dangerous driving maneuvers. If possible, give yourself ample time to make the trips that you need to make so that you don’t feel rushed.

Research has shown that playing music in the car can reduce stress and anxiety. However, music can also be a major road hazard especially among young drivers, so you need to be careful with what you play. Avoid playing your favorite songs that make you want to dance or feel nostalgic. Keep the volume at medium to low and decide what you are listening to before you start driving. Some enjoy listening to podcasts and audiobooks to keep them calm and positive.

Other Drivers

While you may be fine, there could be plenty of other aggressive drivers on the road. It’s important to pay special attention to driving defensively. Trying to anticipate what an aggressive driver might do will keep you safe. If an aggressive driver challenges you, just be courteous and let them by. There is no reward for trying to teach an aggressive driver a lesson.

Drivers in Parking Lots

If you are doing last minute holiday shopping, you are not alone. There are going to be a lot of people going to malls and major retail stores this weekend to pick up the last things they need for their Christmas gifts. Parking lots always have the potential of causing a car accident. More than 50000 car accidents occur in a parking lot every year. People tend to be rushing more this time of year and the cars will be coming in and out. It is better to be in an open well-lit spot that is further away rather than be in a difficult and tight spot and risk getting your car hit.

Remember, people around this time of year have a lot of things on their minds and are likely distracted. It is very important that you pay lots of attention to your surroundings. Look out for cars backing up, and be careful at intersections. Even if there are stop signs, drivers sometimes do not take them as seriously in parking lots. Anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared to use your horn if another car does not seem to see you, especially if they are backing up and getting too close. It is also important to drive slow as there could be shoppers walking all over the place. You do not want to be liable for a pedestrian accident.

Additionally, do not use your phone while you are driving in a parking lot; you are still driving and it is still a distraction. This is important to mention because studies show that 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving in a parking lot.

The Holidays are a very exciting time of year. The worse thing that could happen is for you or a loved one get in a car accident right before the holidays. This is why we always encourage everyone to practice the safest driving tactics. We wish everyone a safe and happy holidays!

Content collaboration by Palermo Law: Protecting people who have been injured because of someone else’s poor decisions, such as an injury from a drunk driver. Located all over Long Island, New York to try to make the best of an unfortunate situation for their clients.

About Us

KidGuard’s sole mission is to protect your children online. Our team spends every waking hour thinking about how to bring awareness and inspire solutions on issues of cyber bullying, online predators, teen suicide, and childhood depression in the age of technology. KidGuard employs a team of researchers and writers to educate parents on solutions to digital parenting problems and also runs a popular child cell phone monitoring software to allow parents to stay involved in their child’s life online.

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