Whether you’re driving to San Jose or flying to Boston, you’ll likely face crowds, traffic and other excitement during the holiday travel season. Plan ahead to make sure you and your family arrive at your destination safely and without too many complications.
1. Know where you’re going. Are you sure you remember where your mother-in-law lives? Instead of winging it, plan your route in advance. Check for road closures and construction as well as snowy or icy conditions. Relying too much on GPS leads to distracted driving, and distracted driving leads to accidents. If you must use your navigation system, delegate another passenger to oversee directions. In this case, a backseat driver is useful.
2. Prepare your vehicle. Check your vehicle’s fluid levels and get the oil changed if it needs it. Fill up the gas tank (or battery power) before you hit the road. If you’re driving into snow, remember to brake early and gently and leave lots of space between you and other vehicles.
3. Avoid the worst travel days. Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are two of the most dangerous driving days according to the National Safety Council. Why? Poor weather and impaired driving. However, if you can make it work, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve day are two of the least-busy flying days. If you’re flying on these holidays, enjoy the less-busy airports.
4. Don’t drink or drug and drive. If you want a drink at the family gathering, appoint a designated driver. Driving after consuming alcohol, marijuana or an illegal substance puts you, your family and other drivers at risk.
Remember, it doesn’t take much alcohol to put you over the legal limit (.08% blood alcohol level). If you’re curious, and you happen to visit a bar in Emeryville, you can volunteer to take a breathalyzer test. As part of the city’s “Know Your Limit” outreach effort, Emeryville police officers will be at local bars asking patrons to guess their blood alcohol content and inviting them to take a breath test.
The legal limit amounts to two drinks consumed by a 120-pound woman during a one-hour period or four drinks consumed by a 180-pound man. Pay attention to what you drink. One drink for purposes of blood alcohol levels means a 12-ounce beer at 4.5%. Many local brew pubs serve pints of craft beer that are 6% alcohol and higher.
5. Be patient. You know traffic might get bad and SFO will be a mess. Leave early to reduce stress. When someone darts in front of you right before a red light or cuts line at baggage check-in, take a deep breath. We all want the same thing: to get to where we’re going and enjoy the holidays. A little good will will make yours go that much better.
From me and my staff, have a wonderful, safe holiday season.