Enjoying holiday lights from your car is a great way to get into the holiday spirit, but it can also be extremely dangerous if you’re not careful. Between the warmer weather we are currently seeing and how early it gets dark this time of year, there are a lot of pedestrians out for evening walks as the holiday lights are turning on.
“Holiday lights are beautiful to look at, but can also be a dangerous distraction for passing motorists,” said Meredith Mitts, spokesperson for AAA – The Auto Club Group.
“Distracted drivers moving through a residential area at night can be a recipe for disaster, especially if there are pedestrians in the area. AAA urges holiday revelers to remain focused on the road while driving. If you wish to enjoy the lights, be sure to pull over safely first.”
AAA recommends following these tips to stay safe while viewing light displays:
• Buckle up. Everyone in the vehicle should remain seated and buckled, even while parked on the side of the road.
• Stay focused on the road while the vehicle is in motion.
• Constantly scan the area for bicyclists, pedestrians and young children who may not be watching for you.
• Pull over if you need to program your navigation system, check a map, take pictures, or do anything that will take your attention off the task of driving. You can also delegate those tasks to a passenger.
• Do not come to a complete stop in a traffic lane. If you encounter someone who has stopped, only pass if it is safe and legal to do so.
• Bring appropriate winter gear in the event of a roadside emergency. You can get more tips on creating a winter driving kit for your vehicle here.
• If walking, wear light colored, reflective clothing to ensure motorists can easily see you while they drive.
If you visit a drive-thru event and are asked to turn off your headlights, remember to turn them back on when you exit.
As always, check weather and roadway conditions before your go out. While falling snow may enhance the holiday atmosphere, it also creates additional safety hazards, especially at night. Follow these tips for staying safe on wintry roads.