Fort Lauderdale Holiday Safety Tips for Drivers

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The holiday season in Fort Lauderdale typically comes with increases in car accident rates. Drunk drivers, wet winter weather, and drivers hurrying to get to their holiday destinations can all increase the risk of car accidents. Your attention to the road, dedication to driving defensively, and knowledge of the risks of the road all contribute to your safety as a holiday driver. The more effort you put into safe driving, the safer you will be.

Never Drive Drunk

During the last five years, an average of 300 people each year lost their lives in alcohol-impaired traffic accidents the week of December 25 to January 1. Alcohol negatively impacts a driver’s ability to focus on the road, stay within the boundaries of a lane, obey roadway signs and signals, make good choices, and react to changing roadway situations. Driving under the influence (DUI) should never be an option.

It is your responsibility to never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Know your options before you go. Plan how you are getting home after a holiday party. Designate a sober driver, plan to hail a taxi or Uber/Lyft, take public transportation such as the Broward County Transit or Sun Trolley, or stay at a trusted friend’s house. Do not drive yourself or even bring your keys with you if you are at risk of driving intoxicated. Instead, plan a safer way home to keep yourself and others safe from a DUI accident.

Watch for Pedestrians

The holidays often have higher numbers of bicyclists and pedestrians on the road. As a driver, take extra precautions at intersections and near crosswalks. Drive slowly and obey all roadway signs. Yield the right of way to more vulnerable roadway users whenever applicable. Be ready to stop quickly in neighborhoods, as children may dart between parked cars and into traffic. Drive especially safely through school zones, neighborhoods, and around events such as holiday festivals.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Give 100% of your attention to the driving task. Do not use a handheld cell phone to text (this is against the law in Florida) or send other messages. Although talking on a handheld cell phone is legal in the state, it is not wise to remove one or both hands from the wheel. Use a hands-free electronic device instead. Eliminate distractions such as chatty passengers, the radio, personal grooming, and food and beverages while driving. Always be aware of your surroundings. Check for pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles around you as you drive.

Keep Up With Vehicle Maintenance

Although Florida does not see snow or sleet, a temperature drop can still impact the way a vehicle operates. Colder weather in Fort Lauderdale around the holidays can make oil thicker, make a battery fail, and decrease tire pressure. Pay attention to your vehicle and keep up with winter maintenance before you drive. A poorly maintained vehicle could experience a part failure or breakdown on a holiday road trip – leaving you stranded or causing a collision. Do your duty as a vehicle owner by winterizing your car before you drive.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep Before Long Drives

If you are traveling far for Christmas, get plenty of sleep the night before. Drowsy driving accidents take thousands of lives every year. Do not push yourself to drive longer than you feel comfortable, especially when driving at night. Get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave and give yourself ample time to get to your destination. Stop and rest if you begin to feel tired. Drive with a companion who can stay awake with you to help prevent falling asleep behind the wheel. Live to see the new year with these holiday driving safety tips.