Holiday Travel Survival Guide
The holiday season can be the most exciting and wonderful time of year, but it can also be very stressful for the ones who make it all happen.
Yes, we are talking to you, Mom. Although you’ll probably never stop worrying if you baked enough Christmas cookies or bought enough gifts, traveling to see your family shouldn’t be something to keep you up at night. Here are 11 tips to make your holiday traveling safer and more convenient for you and your family.
1. Take Your Time
We know you’re just dying to see your in-laws, but make sure to take the icy roads into account. Drive slow. If the weather is bad, don’t feel like you have to drive the normal speed limit.
2. Fill Up
Make sure to keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid a gas line freeze-up and guarantee the arrival to your destination.
3. Stay Warm
Always carry a blanket or an extra pair of warm clothes in the car during the winter season. In the event of an accident, you may need these items to keep you and your family warm before help arrives.
4. Avoid Peak Travel Days
If you want to avoid the traffic and frantic holiday drivers, try to plan on traveling a few days early. The day before a holiday is typically the busiest and most dangerous for those on the road.
5. Buckle Up
Putting on your seatbelt is typically instinct for most drivers, but don’t forget to take a second and make sure everyone in your vehicle is securely fastened. Double check car seats and make sure they’re installed correctly. Accidents are more likely in winter weather.
6. Watch the Weather
Make sure you watch weather reports prior to a long-distance drive or before driving in any isolated areas. You should delay trips when especially bad weather is expected. If you can’t delay the trip, let others know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
7. No Cruise Control
Sure, cruise control is a luxury that many of us use to make traveling more convenient, but never use it when driving on any slippery surfaces such as rain, ice or snow.
8. Use Sandbags
It’s always a good idea to keep sandbags in the back of your vehicle for two reasons. First, the bags will even the weight of the vehicle and provide more traction for your tires on icy roads. Second, you can use the sand as traction underneath your tires if you ever slide into a ditch. Both of these options could potentially save you from getting stuck in dangerous weather—and from expensive towing bills.
9. Know Your Brakes
Whether or not you have antilock brakes, the best way to stop is called “threshold braking.” Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. You should never abruptly hit your brakes on an icy or snowy road.
10. Warm Up Your Vehicle Safely
Warming up your vehicle to a cozy temperature is always nice during the cold winter weather, but never do so in an enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is emitted from the exhaust when the vehicle is running, so make sure it is in a place with plenty of airflow. Also, if you aren’t going to be in your vehicle while it’s warming up, make sure to keep a spare key with you so you can lock your doors while your vehicle is running to prevent theft.
11. Get Some Rest
Make sure you have plenty of rest before you start your trip. Holiday preparations can wear you out, so avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks. If you can, split up driving with someone to avoid road fatigue from long drives.
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