Holidays Ahead: Drive Safely Yourself, Stay Alert and Avoid Impaired Drivers

Jay Stillman

3 min read
It Doesn't Matter Who

At Stillman and Friedland, we know that safe driving is important, and we know that most Tennesseans know that too. Today we are sharing some key tips from the Driving Tests organization and Smart Motorist to help you avoid the small but dangerous population of impaired drivers. As usual, we will add our take on their advice, based on our experience. One in three of all accidents are caused by drunk or drugged drivers. Be proactive and drive defensively. Spot dangerous drivers and steer clear of potential accidents.
Here is our starting tip:

Before you even get in the car, make sure you have uninsured motorist insurance (UMI). Why?

• Reckless drivers are more likely to be irresponsible financially as well
• Drivers who illegally drive impaired often also drive without insurance
• These same bad actors may have no assets you can claim in lieu of insurance
• Therefore, in these cases the only way you can make a claim is through UMI

Drive defensively

Start with the basics, Driving Tests advises:

• Seat belts and child safety restraints save lives. Use them and use them properly. Always use age, weight, and height-appropriate restraints. Never put kids in seats with activated airbags.
• If you have any questions on child restraints, check with Ollie Otter for local advice.
• If you can, avoid driving when impaired driving peaks. Stay-overs avoid the issue of night driving.
• Make sure you have winterized your car, so it is functioning well in winter weather.

Be aware of safe stopping distance

Add even more distance when road conditions are wet and icy. According to Smart Motorist, choose a point of reference on the road and calculate:

When the car in front passes the point of reference, you need to time two seconds and then make sure you don’t pass the point of reference before two seconds are up.
You can try to estimate two seconds in your head just by counting … “one-one-thousand-two-one-thousand” at a normal speed. This will give you a better approximation of two seconds.
If you find that you pass the point of reference in under two seconds, it means you are too close, and you should drop back a little. If it takes you more than two seconds, you are fine.

The two-second calculation is fine during the day, and in good weather with prime road conditions. In poor conditions, when visibility is poor, and roads are slick, use a six-second rule.

Exercise caution at intersections

Spot problems before they happen. Many accidents occur at intersections when reckless drivers fail to stop or yield the right-of-way. Don’t assume that everyone approaching a traffic stop will obey the traffic signal or signage. Be on the alert for drunk or drugged drivers who may plow through a red, ignore a stop sign or wait for drivers with the right-of-way to proceed.
Look out for erratic drivers ahead. Increase your vigilance at holiday times, especially at night. If you see someone weaving or passing recklessly, stay back. If weather conditions are poor, trying to pass an impaired driver at an accelerated speed may be a poor choice. Go slowly and arrive alive.

Be preventative and don’t let friends or family drive impaired. Being a designated driver saves lives. Helping when needed is the right thing to do and prevents injury and heartache. You never want to be the one to say, “If only I had driven them home, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Holiday times should be happy. We make a living by helping those who have been injured recover the means to put their lives back together. But is better to avoid accidents than to try and fix the damage later.

Because we care…