The time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is one of the busiest and most dangerous times to drive according to AAA. CARCHEX wants to ensure that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season and suggests following these tips if you are hitting the road for the holidays:
Winterize Your Vehicle
Drivers should winterize their car at the start of each winter season but it is especially important to do before any long holiday trips. Simple things like testing your battery and checking your fluids can save you a lot of grief and headaches in the long run (see Pat Goss’s Winterizing Tips).
Check Conditions and Know the Roads
It may be 60 and sunny where you are starting your trip but 2 hours in you could hit dangerous icy or snowy conditions. So, check the weather on your route and make sure you are prepared for any weather along the way. Also, it is important to become familiar with the roads along your course and some alternate routes in case you hit dangerous winter conditions or a weather-related accident.
Emergency Road Kit
Before you hit the roads, drivers should equip their vehicle with an Emergency Road Kit. According to AAA, a winter emergency kit should include an ice scraper and snow brush; sand, cat litter or traction mats; a small shovel; gloves, hats and blankets; flashlights with fresh batteries; shop rags or paper towels; jumper cables; warning flares or triangles; drinking water; non-perishable snack bars; warm clothes; first aid kit; basic hand tools; mobile phones and car chargers with important numbers pre-programmed.
If icy roads and holiday traffic jams aren’t enough to make your drive dangerous – screaming children and fielding cell phone calls while driving will definitely put you in a potentially hazardous situation. Cell phones are great to have in case of an emergency, but you should not be talking or texting while driving. And it’s illegal depending upon your state. Also, make sure you bring a variety of video games, Mp3 players, movies, books and crafts for your children to occupy them on long drives and keep them from distracting you.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seat belts are the single most effective safety device for preventing death and injury. Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent. So BUCKLE UP (and make sure all passengers are buckled) before you start your engine!
Don’t Drink & Drive
It is estimated that more than 1,000 people die between Thanksgiving and New Year’s due to driving drunk. During the holiday season take responsibility to help keep impaired drivers off the roads – designate a driver, invite guests who are drinking to spend the night, avoid driving early and late evening hours on holidays, and avoid driving when drowsy or fatigued. Drinking and driving is a choice. Don’t allow a poor choice to ruin your holidays or that of someone else.