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Helpful Holiday Driving Tips

Are you planning on taking a road trip to visit family & friends during the holidays? Holidays always bring a surge of road traffic, so make sure you can survive the trip by following these helpful tips!

Plan Ahead

The best thing you can do before you hit the road for your trip is to research and plan ahead. Being more prepared will result in a smoother journey. For starters, research the weather conditions of your route to make sure the roads are safe to travel on. Doing so will also let you know if you should pack anything extra based on your destination.

It’s also smart to map out your driving route a day or so beforehand, and making notes of alternative ways to go in case you encounter any detours or extra heavy traffic. Lastly, make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready by having routine maintenance performed.

Prepared For Emergencies

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for emergencies, but especially so when taking a long road trip. Stock your car with a first aid kit, extra phone charger, flashlights and/or flares so you’ll be prepared if you have to pull over unexpectedly. Also be sure to look up a roadside assistance company to have on hand in case your vehicle breaks down.

If you’re planning on traveling somewhere with very cold or extreme weather, it’s good to keep some non-clumping kitty litter and/or traction pads in your vehicle, so you can get yourself out of a rut if you encounter ice or snow on the road. Add some blankets, extra gloves and hand warmers for your passengers so you can stay warm in case of a breakdown. Lastly, if driving in extremely cold temperatures, don’t let your fuel tank get too low to prevent possible fuel line freezing.

Be Well-Rested For Long Drives

It sounds simple, but ensuring you are well-rested for a long drive makes a big impact. If you are driving quite a long distance, be sure to rotate drivers or make quick stops around every 2-3 hours if you are driving alone to ensure you are alert enough to drive safely.

Driving while overly tired is dangerous and simply not worth the risk to save on time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 100,000 reported crashes involve drowsy driving every year, and have resulted in over 1,550 fatalities and 71,000 injuries. Telling yourself a cup of coffee or energy drink is the solution to being tired/sleepy on the road isn’t good enough, either. The safest thing to do for you, your passengers, and others on the road is to pull over safely and rest.

Watch Your Speed

Everyone and their dog is trying to get somewhere for the holidays, so it’s key to be even more aware of your surroundings, drive defensively, and to watch your speed. Speeding in general increases your risk of an auto accident, but it’s even more dangerous to do so when the roads are more crowded. This increases your risk of getting yourself, your passengers, and others hurt – so be sure to watch your speed on the road. Also remember to drive defensively and do not react to aggressive drivers to ensure a safe journey to your destination.

Not only should you not speed for safety reasons, but for your wallet, too. Cops & State Troopers will be on full alert and on the lookout for speeders during the holiday season, and nothing is worse than being slapped with a heavy fine during holiday shopping time.

Relax & Enjoy The Ride

Last but not least, remember to relax and enjoy the ride as much as you can! Driving a long distance can be stressful, but keeping a positive attitude will go a long way. Heightened emotions can increase the risk of rash decision making, so if you find yourself getting stressed, try taking a few deep breaths and turn on your favorite tunes, or even pull over at a rest stop to do some quick stretches.

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Staff writers for Driving Dynamics are professional journalists. Industry-specific information is reviewed by topic experts to ensure accuracy. Contact the author

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Driving Dynamics