• Mayo Clinic Minute

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Holiday driving safety tips

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be a hazard on the highway. If you're getting behind the wheel, one Mayo Clinic expert has some tips to keep you and your family safe on the road.

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If you're headed out on the highway this holiday season, be aware of the driving dangers.

"We know that there is a big spike in motor vehicle-related accidents and deaths during the holiday season," says Dr. Michael Boniface, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician. "This may be up to five times what we normally see on any other given day of the week."

Dr. Boniface says a lot of driving accidents are preventable if you practice safe driving habits.

"First of all, never drink and drive," he says. "There's always an alternative. Use a designated driver, [or] call a taxi or a ride-hailing service."

His second tip: Always buckle up. And make sure children are secured in age-appropriate safety seats.

"Seat belts save lives," says Dr. Boniface. "They reduce your risk of dying by about 50% in major car accidents."

And if you're driving, put the phone or any other device away. Distracted driving can easily cause a crash if you're not focused on the road.

For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.