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Holiday Traffic Can Snare Drivers

In just over one week the official holiday shopping season will be upon us. This means more traffic of the vehicular and pedestrian kind will be on streets and sidewalks. Beyond exercising good judgment behind the wheel, there are basic rules for safe driving that drivers should know and follow.

Don't tailgate: Crowding the car ahead of you makes it more likely you'll plow into it if the driver brakes suddenly. Pay close attention while driving through particularly congested shopping streets and destinations.

Always use a turn signal: When you don't use your turn signals, it's more dangerous than it is discourteous to other drivers. Signaling is particularly important for the safety of motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians in holiday traffic (and beyond).

Go slowly, but not too slowly: In some situations driving too slowly can be more dangerous than driving faster than the posted limit. Particularly in the realm of holiday traffic jams, a slow-moving vehicle creates a rolling roadblock. When motorists drive too slowly, traffic snarls and motorists jockey for position, and the smooth flow of traffic is interrupted.

Maintain appropriate speed: Speed per se doesn't kill people. What does is inappropriate speed. While it may be perfectly legal to drive 40 or 45 miles per hour in a sunny day in Fairfield County, that speed limit shouldn't apply when it's raining (or snowing), or when your visibility is reduced. Use your good judgment and adjust your speed to match the conditions and your comfort level, and never exceed the speed limit.

Be ready to stop: Anticipate the need to brake or make lane changes by constantly scanning your driving environment and watching other drivers, pedestrians and bike-riders. You'll be less likely to jam on the brakes or make sudden steering changes to avoid problems.

Make your holiday driving experience utterly forgettable, which means, uneventful. I bet you'll wish you could say the same about holiday shopping.

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