After the New Year celebrations end at midnight, many revelers will be leaving bars and parties to make their way home. The increased number of travelers combined with an inevitable increase of impaired drivers makes for a highly dangerous time to be on the road. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) offers these tips to help ensure you have a safe celebration and a happy year to come.
Staying Safe on the Road
When out and about for New Year’s Eve:
- Avoid driving between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. if possible.
- Stay at or near your location overnight, designate a driver, or take a cab or ride-share service.
- Be a good friend and make sure no one gets behind the wheel while intoxicated.
- Be the responsible one on the road by not speeding, following too closely behind other vehicles or driving distracted. Go one step further by making a New Year’s resolution to stay off the phone while driving.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the number of vehicles stolen in the U.S. is expected to surpass 1 million by the end of the year. In addition, News Year’s Eve and Day are the holidays when car thieves are most active. The Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (LATIFPA) offers the following advice:
- Make your vehicle less of a target by parking in well-lit areas and keeping belongings out of sight. Keep windows rolled up and always lock the doors. Never leave your vehicle running unattended and make sure you keep the keys or fob with you. If property is stolen from your vehicle, it may be covered under your homeowners/renters policy or your auto policy. Check with your agent to learn more.
- Use anti-theft devices such as car alarms, steering wheel locks and car wheel clamps.Many insurers offer discounts for drivers who use anti-theft devices.
- If your vehicle is burglarized or stolen:
- Report it to the police and contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible.
- Keep a record of your license plate number, vehicle identification number and a copy of your registration to help identify and locate your vehicle after a theft.
- Depending on your coverage, your insurance may cover a rental car while you are looking to replace your stolen vehicle.
- If your vehicle is recovered, insurance may cover the impounding and towing fees.
If fireworks are legal where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow these safety tips:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks, and older children should only use them under close adult supervision.
- Avoid handling fireworks while impaired.
- Do not ignite fireworks in your hands or in a make-shift container.
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak malfunctioned and used fireworks in water before discarding.
- Keep a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks and to use in case of a fire.
If you have questions about what is covered in your insurance policy or have issues with an insurance claim, contact the LDI at 800-259-5300 or find more information online at www.ldi.la.gov.