Op-Ed: This Holiday Season, Stay Safe On The Road

Sunday, November 11, 2018 ||Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh || @maywoodnews 

Featured image: An auto accident from earlier this month, when a Pace bus collided with a vehicle at the intersection of 7th Avenue and Lake Street. The driver of the car was seriously injured. | Courtesy Maywood Fire Department 

With the holidays swiftly approaching, I want to encourage people to be extra careful and patient while driving. Here are some tips for avoiding car accidents:

Stop, look and listen. Pull into traffic slowly when doing things like entering intersections, pulling into busy streets, merging or crossing railroad tracks. Don’t just scan the car directly in front of you. Make sure that you’re looking at the traffic in front of that car, too. The more you can anticipate ahead of time, the more time you have to react.

Don’t multi-task when driving. Don’t do things like use your cell phone, eat and drink, tend to the children or groom in the mirrors while you’re driving. If you have to do these things, pull over.

Do not drive while impaired. Don’t drive while drunk or drugged. If you have used substances, make sure you have a designated driver around or somewhere you can be until you’re sober. And remember, even tipsy driving is driving under the influence.

Maintain your car. Perform regular engine maintenance, especially while driving during the winter months.

Beware of your blind spots. According to Edmunds, you should “adjust your side mirrors and rearview mirror to provide you with one near seamless panoramic scene of the view behind you, but don’t rely solely on them. Actually turn to look directly into the lanes beside you to avoid missing something left undetected by your mirrors. Also consider the blind spots for other drivers around you, especially truckers, and try to minimize the amount of time you spend in them.”

Drive with both hands on the wheel. Always drive with your hands at the 9 and 3 o’clock position so that you have maximum control of your car if you’re forced to make a quick maneuver in order to avoid a car accident, Edmunds points out.

Wear your seatbelt. Develop the habit of always putting your seatbelt on before you even drive off. This is a potentially life-saving habit.

Limit your nighttime driving: According to Geico, “The risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night than in the day for every mile driven. It’s better to avoid nighttime driving until you’re comfortable driving during the day.” VFP 

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