Many of us will be driving to unfamiliar destinations this holiday season. Whether you’re going to a party in a part of the city you haven’t been to before or you’re taking an out-of-state road trip, being in an area you don’t know can hamper your ability to drive safely.
That’s why it’s wise to do a little preparation and to enlist some assistance. That will help you keep your focus on your driving and what others around you are doing rather than trying to figure out where your exit ramp or next turn is.
Many of us rely on our global positioning system (GPS) for all of our directions. Therefore, we often don’t think about how to get where we’re going until we’re in our car.
However, if you’re going to an area you’re not familiar with, it’s a good idea to do a little research on Google Maps or a similar site first. There’s likely more than one route. You may prefer one that avoids highways. On the other hand, you may want to take highways rather than surface streets where the snow may not have been cleared.
If you’re driving some distance, it’s a good idea to print out your directions or have an old-fashioned paper map handy — just in case something goes wrong with your GPS or the route it’s giving you is closed due to weather conditions, an accident or construction. Make sure that you have the address of your destination and the phone number in case you have to call for directions or to let them know you’ve been delayed.
If you’ve adult passengers, have one of them in the front seat, so they can reroute the GPS, check your map or printed directions or make a phone call if needed. The less you have to take your eyes or mind off the road, the safer you’ll be. Don’t be afraid to pull over and go into a store or gas station to get directions.
Even if you’re prepared to get where you’re going, not everyone you’re sharing the road with is. This time of year, visitors, tourists and parents of Yale students who aren’t familiar with the area are driving in and around New Haven. If you’re injured in a crash caused by another driver, make sure you get the compensation you need to deal with your expenses and damages.