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Tips for safe winter car trips

As the holiday season and winter months loom on the horizon, many people in Texas and across the country will be hitting the roads and taking longer trips and vacations. If you have a long car trip ahead of you in our away from Texas, be sure to make good decisions to keep your excursion as safe as possible so you can enjoy the beginning of 2017 with friends and family. 

Some tips to keep your journey safe:

Check before you leave

  • Be sure your tank is filled with gas. If you're going to be logging lots of miles, it's best to make sure your tank is filled and that other fluids like windshield wiper or coolants have been topped off.
  • Check the tires and make sure they're appropriately filled - you'll get better gas mileage and less likely to safety or handling issues.
  • Use a GPS system to ensure the most direct, safe route - but of course program it before you leave or have a co-pilot handle any changes so you can focus on driving.
  • Be sure to check the weather forecast to know if any storms are coming or the temps will dip to make any moisture on the road into dangerous ice patches. If you're heading to a colder climate, be sure to bring along blankets, gloves, jumper cables, a flashlight and an ice scraper to use just in case you get stuck or break down.

Out on the road

  • Make sure everyone is wearing their seatbelt or in their appropriate child seat. You may trust your own driving abilities, but you can't control the way others drive or the weather conditions. Additionally, make sure pets are secure and aren't able to distract the driver. Keep them busy with food, water, toys and treats.
  • Don't let distractions lead to an accident. Let a passenger answer calls, send messages or reach for any objects in the back seat for you - if you're alone, safely pull over when you can and complete the task before pulling back on the road. Set up a hands-free system if available, but use it sparingly so you can focus on the road.
  • Had a big meal or skipped a couple of hours of sleep last night? You might want to have someone else drive or take a nap before you leave - drowsy driving has been found to be just as dangerous as drunk driving. And of course, NEVER drive while intoxicated.

If the unthinkable happens

Despite our best efforts, things out of our control can cause a motor vehicle accident. If you're in a fender-bender or a more serious accident, remember:

  • Check for injuries right away, and call an ambulance immediately if anyone is seriously hurt. Get everyone off of the road and onto a shoulder or sidewalk and out of harm's way.
  • When there are serious property damages or injuries, call the police so they can come to the scene as well and write up a report.
  • Call your insurance agent and let them know about the accident. Take photos and write anything down that you can to help you remember if insurance has later questions.
  • Don't admit fault! Never agree to a settlement, either, without speaking to an attorney.

If you or a passenger were injured in the accident, and you need help with medical or car repair bills, you may be entitled to compensation. It's a good decision soon after an accident to contact an attorney who can help you through the process and help you pursue the best possible outcome of your case.

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