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Make sure your holiday travels are safe ones

If you and your family plan to travel to visit extended family or friends over the 2016 holiday season, you want to ensure that your trip doesn't end tragically. Because there are so many holiday parties where alcohol flows freely, it's a real concern that your family could fall victim to the reckless behavior of a drunken driver.

Florida highways can be dangerous

While Floridians don't have to cope with icy and snowy roads like many residents of the northern states do, that doesn't mean that our roads are always hazard-free. Our close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the many lakes, rivers, swamps and other waterways means that there is always a potential for foggy conditions to develop with very little warning.

The goal for you and your family should always be to "Arrive Alive," so keep the following safety tips in mind this holiday season:

  • Don't exceed the posted speed limits, and if weather conditions deteriorate, decrease your speed accordingly.
  • Plan your trip with enough time to accommodate rest stops, traffic jams, mechanical problems and detours.
  • Have a family rule that the car doesn't move until and unless all passengers and the driver are securely belted in.
  • Never drive impaired. A single drink can alter perception and could land you in jail on a drunk-driving charge.
  • Drivers should concentrate on driving. The front seat passenger can handle the navigation system, change the radio station, discipline unruly children and answer or make any cellphone calls.

Beware of signs of impaired or reckless drivers

No matter how safe of a driver you are, your family is still at risk from the reckless actions of unsafe drivers who occupy the Florida highways and interstates beside you. If you spot another driver weaving between lanes, driving without lights after dark, have your passenger dial *FHP (*347) to report them, or pull off to the side when it is safe to do so and make the report yourself.

In a worst-case scenario, if your family members are injured by an at-fault driver, you will need to make a police report in order to substantiate your claim for damages against that driver's insurance company. As insurance companies routinely give claimants the runaround, it may be necessary to retain a Florida personal injury attorney to preserve your rights and avoid proscription.

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