This year, AAA projects 55.4 million travelers will head 50 miles or more from home during the holiday season. That’s more drivers than any other year before. If you are planning to hit the road to visit loved ones or go on vacation, your safety and the safety of others is paramount. Here’s your Holiday Road Trip Safety 101 guide, with 10 tips to help keep your family safe this holiday season.
Holiday road trip safety tips
1. Plan ahead – the secret to smooth travel
Before embarking on your road trip this holiday season, plan ahead to reduce stress and minimize unexpected surprises. Check the weather forecast, map out your route, and allow for extra travel time to accommodate potential delays.
2. Ensure your vehicle is ready
Before hitting the road, give your vehicle a thorough check-up. Check the oil, brake fluid, tire pressure, and lights. Ensure that your brakes, wipers, and heater are in optimal condition. A well-maintained vehicle is essential for a safe and smooth holiday road trip. If you are traveling through or to a destination with snow or ice, consider packing an ice scraper, tire chains, blanket, and a small shovel.
3. Monitor real-time updates on traffic
Stay informed about traffic updates, road closures, and weather conditions. Utilize navigation apps for real-time updates and consider subscribing to traffic alert services. Being aware of the road ahead helps you make informed decisions and avoid potential hazards.
4. Share your itinerary
Let someone know about your travel plans. Share your itinerary with a friend or family member, including your route and estimated arrival times. In case of unexpected delays or emergencies, having someone aware of your whereabouts adds an extra layer of safety.
5. Don’t drive distracted
When it comes to long road trips, we all need music, podcasts and smart phone apps to be entertained for hours on end. However, it’s crucial to stay focused on the road. Minimize phone use, designate a co-pilot for navigation, and save in-car festivities for rest stops.
6. Stay buckled-up the entire time
On long road trips, many people like to unbuckle to stretch out and sleep in the passenger or back seat. However, this is very dangerous and can be a fatal decision. Make sure you and your passengers always wear a seatbelt.
7. Designate a driver
Holiday celebrations often involve toasts and cheer. If you plan on consuming alcohol, designate a sober driver or use alternative transportation options like rideshare services. Responsible choices ensure a safe journey for everyone on the road.
8. Take breaks and don’t drive tired
Long drives can be tiring, especially during the holiday rush. Schedule regular breaks to stretch your legs, grab a snack, and stay alert. A well-rested driver is a safer driver.
9. Beware of changing weather conditions
The holiday season often brings unpredictable weather. Adapt your driving to match the conditions – reduce speed in rain or snow, increase following distances, and be prepared for changing road surfaces.
10. Spread holiday cheer; don’t drive aggressively
In the rush of holiday traffic, maintain a calm and patient demeanor. Avoid aggressive driving behaviors such as tailgating or abrupt lane changes. Spread holiday cheer on the road by driving responsibly.
Arriving safely is the greatest gift
This holiday season, make the commitment to drive safely and arrive at your destination with the gift of peace of mind. Navigate the roads with caution, patience, and a commitment to safety.
Safe travels and may your holiday road trips be merry and bright!
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