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3 ways to avoid holiday car crashes

Travel stress around the holidays is pretty much a given. Planes, trains and automobiles across the country are filled with holiday travelers trying to get somewhere. Your gifts and goodies, ordered with that special two-day shipping, have to get somewhere, too. That means even more big trucks on the roads, which --combined with ice, snow and holiday hurrying -- can lead to some serious crashes.

You probably know the basics of protecting yourself from these accidents: wear a seatbelt. Slow down. Don't drive drunk or impaired. But the American Trucker Association (ATA) has given some additional tips for how to protect your family from an accident with one of those big trucks:

  • Watch out for truckers' blind spots. Remember, trucks don't have the maneuverability that passenger vehicles do. You may think the truck driver is responsible for watching out for you, but you can make it a little easier on them by being aware that they have large blind spots towards the back of their vehicle. If you need to pass, remember that the left side of the truck has a much smaller blind spot than the right.
  • Don't cut in front of trucks. Because trucks are very large, it takes them much longer to stop than you might think. Keep that in mind when merging in front of them, and give the driver a wide berth.
  • Leave yourself lots of travel time and space between vehicles. This might seem like a no-brainer, but even when everybody's running at top speed to get things done during the holidays, it will serve you well to save extra time for travel. This will allow you to drive at a safe speed, with a safe distance between cars - as you may have learned in driver's ed, the rule of thumb is keeping two or three seconds between you and the next car. You will want to increase this a bit when driving in inclement conditions.

Everyone on the road during the holidays has an important place to go, and by minimizing your own risk factors, you're maximizing the chance that everyone arrives safely.

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