Top 5 Holiday Travel Mistakes Seniors Must Avoid This Season
The holiday season is a time when everyone seems to be traveling—whether they be going back to their childhood homes to celebrate the holidays, or escaping a cold Christmas snow for more tropical climates. The roads are dangerous in the winter, though, especially for the elderly who tend to have a higher incidence of traffic accidents. Here are 5 precautions one must take in order to make their holiday travel as safe as possible:
1. Not leaving enough space between you and the vehicle in front
Always leave a gap between you and the driver in front of you. You never know when he’s going to stop suddenly, and its hard to react quickly enough to stop from rear-ending him, especially when ice and snow are involved!
2. Driving when you’re tired or drunk
This, of course, should be a no-brainer for all seasons. If you doze off at the wheel, or if you aren’t in charge of all your faculties, driving can become a dangerous, even fatal exercise. If you feel you’re tired after a family gathering, or you’ve partaken in one too many glasses of wine, consider sleeping where you are—family will not turn you down, especially if it means the difference between a safe, and dangerous commute home.
3. Driving too fast
Roads are significantly more dangerous in the winter when they’re wet and icy than the warm, dry roads of summer. Why, then, would you drive the same speed as you do in the summer months? Paying attention to speed limits, especially in the winter, could save your life—and if the road is particularly treacherous, there’s no harm in going a little slower.
4. Not taking the reduced visibility seriously
Reduced visibility comes from conditions like falling snow or rain. It can also come from fogged windows, or snow not cleaned off your car from the last accumulation. When you can’t fully see where you’re going, you are less likely to see road hazards or obstacles in your way. Again, slow down and pay close attention to the road in these cases. Also, make sure you invest in a good set of windshield wipers, and a good snow-brush to clean your car off completely before you leave.
5. Failing to notify your loved ones about your trip
Always let your family know where you’re going, and when you’re leaving. This way, they know where to reach you if you get lost or stranded. Driving in the winter, especially in an unfamiliar location, is difficult and getting lost is as easy as one wrong turn. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone with you, and if possible a GPS or a road map.
On top of these precautions, you can also get a nifty GPS-enabled senior alert button—a wearable emergency response system that you only have to press to instantly establish contact with medical personnel. Most of these senior alerts come at a fairly inexpensive monthly rate, and they function more or less like a mobile phone. The more sophisticated models are equipped with GPS tracking so that emergency personnel can quickly locate you just in case you need help.