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Accident Prevention

'Tis The Season to Be Accident Free

Be Prepared

Holiday cheer is near, and this winter season the sound of bells jingling won't be the only noise we hear in the streets. Unfortunately, the holidays also bring a swell of other less festive street noises, like the sounds of car horns a-honking and car crashes a-crinkling. Why, you ask? Late December and early January are marked by an increase in people taking both short and long distance trips. Take into account that more people will be celebrating with alcohol; add colder, wetter weather to the mix, and you have a holiday recipe for a not so merry auto accident.

But you don't have to let a smash up ruin your holiday bash! In fact, by taking a few extra precautions, most accidents are avoidable to a considerable extent. So before you jump in your sleigh to dash across the country, make your accident prevention list and check it twice:

1) It's All About the Tires

Check Your Tires

Your vehicle's safety begins with the 4 items that actually touch the road: your tires! Make sure your tires are properly inflated if you want great gas mileage and added safety. Don't forget to check your tire tread; if any of your tires are worn, you are at a great risk of having a blow out. Also, bald tires won't allow you to stop as suddenly, which is a major concern especially when rain or snow are just around the bend.

2) Make Not Haste, Nor Waste

Yes, yes, yes... we all know that we're supposed to drive the speed limit. Easier said than done. Here's why you should obey the posted limit signs: you'll save money, and possibly lives. Driving the proper speed not only gives you better miles to the gallon, you'll also have more time to react and control your vehicle when unforeseen obstacles crop up. Not to mention you won't get a $250+ speeding ticket when you can least afford it.

3) Subtraction by Distraction

Avoid Distracted Driving

Are you naughty or nice when you're in the captain's seat of your vessel? Good boys and girls drive with both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, and their brains on alert. Just say no to cell phones, iPods, eating, shaving, crocheting, or any other activity that will keep you from your primary goal: getting over the hills and through the woods to grandma's house safe and sound.

4) Always Bet on Sober

Find a Sober Driver

It's the time of year when many people like to be merrier when it comes to the "liquid holiday spirits". Drinking and driving is a surefire way to spoil everyone's holiday season. Don't be a Grinch this season and steer clear of the driver's seat if you have been spending too much time near the spiked punch bowl. If you're the sober one, don't be afraid to be someone's little helper by offering to take over driving duties for the evening.

5) Buckle Up All Ye Merry Gentlemen (and Gentlewomen)

Buckle Up

Americans everywhere are better about buckling up today than they were decades ago, but unbelievably some folks still don't bother to belt-up. Worse yet, some parents still cart around their loved ones without bothering to check that everyone is securely fastened in their seats. If you're driving, set the example by buckling up first and then make sure your passengers do the same before you start the ignition.

6) A Few of My Favorite Safety Things

Chances are that the 12 days of Christmas, the 8 days of Hanukkah, or the x-number of days of your own holiday will pass by without any vehicle breakdowns. However, everyone is bound to experience a breakdown at some point in his or her life, so why not be prepared with a handy-dandy safety kit? A few gifts to give your car this year: a flashlight, blankets, jumper cables, a first aid kit, drinking water, non-perishable snacks, and a cell phone.

There you have it - your accident prevention safety list. Now it's up to you to make it your pre-New Years' resolution to abide by it. Moreover, if you're really feeling generous this season, pass this list along to your loved ones... and maybe even the in-laws!

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