Eight Tips for Worry-Free Holiday Travel
Every mom knows that “prep time” isn’t just for meals. You juggle schedules and parental responsibilities for your kids’ time at school, music or dance lessons, team practices and other activities. And unless you’re a famous Hollywood actress, you’re probably not lucky enough to have a personal assistant (though you could use one!).
So with the holidays just around the corner, you’ll be on double-duty; maybe even triple-duty if you’re planning a road trip. What should you put on your to-do list for your upcoming trip? Here are some tips to help you before and during your holiday travels.
1. Prep your vehicle. Make sure it’s tuned up and in good shape. Check tire pressure and tread depth, replace wiper blades, fill the windshield washer reservoir and test the battery. Since visibility is so critically important to road safety, make sure your windows and windshields are clean before you leave.
2. Pack the right gear. If you are traveling through areas where it might snow, you’ll need more than a snow brush and ice scraper. Your emergency winter kit can include blankets; warm clothing; sand, cat litter or traction mats; a small shovel; a flashlight with fresh batteries; warning flares or triangles; drinking water; and anything else you might need in case you get stranded.
3. Check the weather. Take a look at the forecast for not only your home or destination, but all the places in between. Change your schedule to avoid traveling during storms and, if conditions are too dangerous, cancel your trip. No get-together is worth risking the safety of your family.
4. Allow enough time. If possible, leave early to avoid the peak traffic hours. Expect delays—AOL Autos’ Editor-at-Large Rex Roy says drivers also should prepare themselves mentally for holiday traffic and the possibility of running into bad weather.
5. Entertain your kids. Use books, games, DVDs or whatever it takes to keep the little ones comfortable and prevent them from distracting the driver who needs to focus all attention on the road. And don’t forget the snacks!
6. Be even more aware of other drivers. The reason is obvious: Holidays mean parties and drinking, which means more alcohol-impaired drivers. Officials with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) cite alcohol as a contributing factor in roughly 52 percent of all deadly accidents on Christmas Day and 57 percent on New Year’s Eve.
7. Stay alert. Sitting upright will help keep you attentive. Take plenty of breaks, and do not push yourself to meet an unrealistic schedule. If you get tired, pull off the road into a rest area or business and get some fresh air. If you can’t stay alert and focused, find a motel or campground to spend the night.
8. Slow down! Adjust your car speed to fit the road conditions and be extra cautious when the roads are slick or icy. Give yourself plenty of time to react to traffic by increasing your following distance. Slow, gradual starts and stops will help you avoid skids.
Unlike life, holiday travel is about the destination, not the journey. A little prep time before you leave and some extra caution on the road will help you arrive safely—ready to share laughter and good times with your family and friends.
Content provided by George Palatine, Allstate Auto Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL
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