The holiday season is a joyful yet busy time of year. People seem to be constantly rushing around doing their Christmas shopping or enjoying festive events. With drivers who are distracted and streets that are busier than usual, it’s important to keep some road safety tips in mind while you are driving around Hong Kong. In this Kwiksure article, we’ll provide some useful tips to keep you safe on the road during Christmas and the holiday season.
Avoid drink driving
Drink driving is one of the most common contributory factors behind road accidents and road casualties across the globe. During the holidays, the police come out in full force to ensure that drivers are not operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. If you’re attending a Christmas party and are going to have a few drinks, do not drive. Instead of driving home drunk, you can stay the night, arrange private transport, or appoint a designated driver to get you home safely.
While the holidays can be stressful and you might feel like there isn’t enough time to complete your checklist, rushing won’t help. Thinking about how you’re going to buy and wrap all the presents, cook meals, and decorate the house in time is enough to make anyone want to speed on Hong Kong’s often narrow roads, but with police presence at an annual high, getting caught for speeding is probably not on your Christmas wishlist.
Even if you’re wearing more layers than normal, you still need to wear your seatbelt. If the thought of a ticket isn’t enough to scare you into wearing one, then think about the danger you’re putting yourself and others in. The same rule applies whether you sit in the front or the back of the car. Similarly, children should always wear seatbelts while pets should be restrained and protected.
Get enough rest
The holiday season is full of events like family gatherings, Christmas parties, and traveling. Microsleep, which is a term that describes when a person falls asleep for a fraction of a second, can be fatal if you’re operating a vehicle. Watch out for signs of fatigue such as excessive blinking, yawning, and squinting.
Likewise, you may realize that you can’t recall the last few kilometers you drove. If any of these things happen to you, it’s best to stay away from the wheel and have a nap or arrange another mode of transport.
Put your phone away
Making calls while driving to find out what your uncle’s favorite color is is a recipe for disaster. In fact, even a quick glance at your phone means you’re driving blind. Even though many people know that texting and talking on the phone is distracting and dangerous, many drivers still do it. If you must talk or text, simply pull over at a safe spot.
Be aware of emergency vehicles
Every second counts in an emergency. If you hear a siren, make sure you move over to the side of the road so the ambulance, fire truck, or police car can pass.
Carry an emergency kit in your car
You never know when your car will break down in the middle of nowhere. Every vehicle should have a kit that includes items that would be useful if you are involved in a car accident or are stuck by the side of the road. Aside from jumper cables, the kit should also include a first aid kit, blanket, torch, and a multipurpose tool, to name a few.
Maintain a safe distance
Tailgating doesn’t help you reach your destination faster and it makes your stress levels, and risk, go up too. You have to make sure there’s enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, so time and distance can act as a buffer in case of emergency braking. In addition, dropping back makes it possible to see more of the road so you have more time to react accordingly.
Exercise caution at intersections
Many crashes and road traumas happen at intersections. But they don’t occur because the rules are faulty, they occur because drivers do not stop in time or allow others to go even though they have the right to. Drink driving, distraction, and fatigue are some of the reasons why intersections can be dangerous. To minimize your risk, look around to ensure that everyone has stopped and is giving way to you instead of simply relying on the rules of the road.
Respond to accidents appropriately
Safety is key when it comes to an accident. Make sure that everyone involved is okay, and call 999. In Hong Kong, this number will put you in touch with the local police, fire department, ambulance services, and other emergency services.
If you can move the vehicle, such as in a fender bender, it’s best to get it to the side of the road so traffic can move freely. You should also turn on your hazard lights to make it easier for approaching vehicles to see you.
During the holiday season, it’s important to remember that other drivers may be impatient or under the influence, even if you aren’t. Enjoy the festive season and stay safe on the roads.
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