Updated December 23rd, 2021.
Originally published November 28th, 2018
The holidays are a magical time of year with the lights, sights, and feelings in the air. One thing that isn’t so fun about the holidays is the extra traffic on all the roads. It is frustrating to try and get anywhere.
If you find yourself in some extra heavy traffic this year, keep in mind these holiday driving tips, or the four P’s; plan extra time, practice good driving habits, proactive driving, and patience.
Plan extra time.
Driving in heavy traffic is most common during weekend evenings, dinner time, rush hours, and around special events, it is important that you allow some extra time for driving. Leave early to reach your celebration on time and don’t rely on estimated GPS travel time.
Car crashes, construction, and more drivers on the road at once add up to common holiday driving hazards.
If you want to make sure you reach your holiday work party, family function, or any other get-together on time, give yourself some extra time to get there. This will help you feel happier and less stressed behind the wheel, which decreases risky maneuvers in traffic and road rage during your travels.
Practice good driving habits.
Following proper driving etiquette is more than just good advice, it’s the law. Driving in heavy traffic requires following procedures and using good driving techniques.
Make sure that you signal before turning, switching lanes, or waiting for a parking spot.
Don’t follow the car in front of you too closely and give them plenty of room to drive.
Watch how fast you are traveling. Drivers tend to drive too fast when they have been feeling stuck to make up time.
Another common holiday driving hazard is bad weather, which can be especially dangerous.
While no one can read minds, you can anticipate the actions of other drivers. One of the best holiday driving tips is to watch for hazards, like attempting to switch lanes, not watching the light change at an intersection, or staying vigilant for a driver suddenly pulling into traffic.
If you are watching other drivers, chances are good that you are giving the road your attention and not paying attention to a cell phone.
Patience is a virtue.
While the holidays are full of fun and giving, there is also a lot of stress. People are out buying gifts, everyone out rushing around to the different sales, and others are trying to travel for the holidays to see their family and friends. It isn’t easy to get everything done and can leave you feeling tired and impatient on the roads.
Remember to slow down, bring things to keep kids busy in the back seat, and find ways to make your time in the car more enjoyable, like audiobooks, podcasts, or listening to a new Christmas album. Keeping yourself calm and trying to be more patient can lead to a more enjoyable experience on the road, even while driving in heavy traffic during the holidays.
Improving Your Skills.
These four holiday driving tips are a great starting point to driving safer during the holidays. Following these and the other defensive driving skills you learned in driving school can help keep you safe any time of year.
For more winter driving tips, enroll in a driving school near you. Our instructors successfully teach drivers how to be great defensive drivers. They can help guide you to make better choices behind the wheel and have a more enjoyable holiday this year.