Tips From a Police Officer: Safe Holiday Travels and Preventing Theft

December 18, 2023 by Kemper Auto

Car with gifts in the luggage rack drives past snowy pine trees

Driving is one of the most popular ways to travel, especially during the holidays. Because of holiday travel, the National Safety Council (NCS) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) observes an increase in automobile accidents and break-ins around this time of year. We sat down with Officer Chavarria of the Medley, Florida Police Department, who offered advice on how to keep drivers safe this holiday season. 

Safe Holiday Driving

1. Be patient

It’s easy to get frustrated as the roads become more congested during the busy holiday season. Instead, Officer Chavarria encouraged drivers to, "Take your time, be a little patient." Plan for extra travel time so you don’t have the added stress of running late.

2. Practice defensive driving

Officer Chavarria stressed that many of the accidents he sees are preventable. Remember: People are likely visiting your area from out of town, so the roads may be unfamiliar to them, and their driving behavior may be unexpected as a result. Slight changes like watching your speed and checking all sides before switching lanes can make all the difference. 

3. Put distractions away

Distracted driving typically increases over the holidays. Officer Chavarria shared some of the surprising behaviors he has seen on the road. 

In addition to cell phones, “I’ve seen people on their laptops,” he said. “. . .Reading the newspaper.” Whatever the distraction, “It can wait. It can wait because it can save a life.”

4. Don’t drive under the influence

Both in the insurance industry and law enforcement, we see how quickly festivities can turn to tragedy when people mix driving with alcohol, drugs, or even prescriptions. Instead of telling yourself “I’ll just have one,” make a plan to get home that doesn’t involve driving. 

Whether you take public transportation or have a friend give you a ride, you can enjoy a party more when you know you will be safe on the way home and won’t risk losing your license to a DUI.

See related: We Can All Be Safer Drivers

Drivers should be cautious during the holidays by buckling up and practicing defensive driving. Drivers also should get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, drive attentively and avoid distractions.

Securing Your Vehicle

While the NICB stated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day have the fewest automobile break-ins, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are recorded to have the highest break-ins each year.

Officer Chavarria also shared tips to prevent auto break-ins and thefts this holiday. He shared to not leave valuables in the car but if you must, make sure you hide and lock them in a spot where they can’t be seen, like the trunk. 

"Lock it up, hide it, or you're going to lose it," Officer Chavarria said. He also suggested parking in a well-lit area to help deter thieves. 

Remember, the best way to stay safe this holiday season starts with you. Take preventative measures on and off the road: Be alert and patient to make any holiday journey as smooth and safe as possible. Arriving safely is the best gift to give your friends and family this festive season. 


Holiday Traffic Fatality Estimate: Holiday Introduction. National Safety Council (NSC).

Holiday Thefts: Be Thankful Vehicle Thefts Slow Down on Thanksgiving. National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Drivers Are Nearly 3x Less distracted in the UK. Why?. Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT). (2023, Dec 4). 


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