The holidays are a peak time for travel. Families are coming together, revelers are shopping, and families are taking vacations and visiting relatives. And seasonal residents in South Florida increase the population during the holidays, pushing the capacity of streets, parking lots, malls, and shopping centers to the max.
The increase in vehicle and shopping traffic can increase the risk of accidents. But by taking certain precautions, you can reduce your risk. Here are eight safe holiday driving and shopping tips to keep yourself and your family safe in South Florida.
- Slow down. Pay attention to speed limits on interstates and highways, drive at a safe speed for the road conditions, and reduce your speed in busy parking lots. Watch for pedestrians crossing the street in shopping centers, parking lots, and other areas of heavy foot traffic during the holidays, such as near parade routes.
- Never drink and drive. While this goes for any time of the year, alcohol is a common sight at many holiday celebrations. If you are going to a holiday gathering or just out to dinner, make proper arrangements to have a safe and sober ride home. Designate a driver or call a taxi or rideshare service. If you find yourself without a ride, AAA provides tow trucks to get both you and your car home on Christmas and New Years. In Florida, you can call 1-855-2-TOW-2-GO for this service.
- Wear your seat belt. In addition to cracking down on drunk driving around the holidays, a lot of police departments also crack down on seat belt use. This is a good time to remind your family – and yourself – of the importance of wearing a seat belt to reduce your risk of injuries in the event of an accident. Also double-check that young children are in the right car or booster seat, and that older children wear their seat belt properly.
- Do not drive distracted. The holidays are a popular time for catching up with friends and family. But not while you’re behind the wheel. Talking on the phone, texting, using Facebook, or even changing the radio station or eating are all distractions that can lead to a crash. Put your phone away and out of reach while you are driving.
- Get plenty of sleep. The holidays can keep you up late at parties or visiting relatives, wrapping presents, or just catching up on year-end chores. If you do not get enough rest, it slows your reaction time and can put you at risk of an accident. Make sure you get a full night’s sleep if you are driving the next day. If you are going on a longer trip, take a break every two hours to stretch your legs. Pull over if you feel sleepy, and take turns behind the wheel with another driver.
- Take precautions while walking in parking lots. Shop with a friend or family member if you can. Some malls and shopping centers offer escorts to your vehicle after dark. Always have your keys ready to go when you get to your car, and lock your doors immediately after getting in.
- Watch for obstacles in stores. The holidays bring crowded stores and, in many cases, messy aisles. Watch for hazards that might cause a trip or slip and fall.
- Buy appropriate gifts. Pay careful attention to the gifts you choose while shopping, especially for young children. Dangerous toys for children may include those with small parts, long pull cords, and sharp edges. Always be sure to check the suggested age limits for a toy, and buy within the proper range.
If you or a family member suffers injuries in South Florida this holiday season, Montero Law can help you hold the responsible party or parties liable. Our lawyers can help you file a claim after a car accident with a drunk or distracted driver or after a slip and fall accident.
Call our Ft. Lauderdale office today at 954-767-6500 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.