The holiday season is upon us. If you are planning a road trip, here are a few tips from us to you to help keep you and your family safe.
Watch the weather.
Check the weather forecasts as early in advance of your departure. Weather can be unpredictable. But if you start watching the weather at your destination approximately a week before you head out, you’ll get a good idea of what to expect before you take your journey.
If you are planning to leave the Sunshine State and head where there are cooler temperatures, it’s a good idea to brush up on driving in the harsh winter snow and ice you may encounter along the way.
Get your vehicle inspected.
Things you normally might not think about — oil, alternator, tire pressure — can make a huge difference during a road trip. Take your vehicle in for a tune-up and thorough inspection; or at least do a quick check under the hood to ensure that routine maintenance is up-to-date. This includes checking on your car battery and that your tires, wipers, and lights are all in good working order.
Plan your route.
Familiarize yourself with your route before you take off for your road trip. Yes, you can use your phone’s GPS system. Let your family or friends know when to expect you.
Pack your trunk with an emergency kit.
You’re not planning on an accident or other emergencies, but pack some supplies in the event an emergency arises. Make sure you have water and snacks, an ice scraper, extra blankets, flashlight(s), batteries, jumper cables, snow shovel, and even consider picking up some sand or kitty litter in case you get stuck in the snow.
Bring a phone.
Make sure you have a fully-charged cell phone on hand at all times. Put a car charger in your vehicle, and also bring along a (fully-charged) portable charger.
Plan extra time.
Allotting extra time for travel means that you won’t be in a big rush to arrive at your destination. Additional time planned into your journey will also allow you to deal with any surprise weather or traffic during this time of year.
Distracted driving was a factor in 3,450 deaths and 391,000 injuries in 2016. If your attention isn’t 100% on the road, you’re at a greater risk of traffic accidents. Distracted driving includes talking or texting on your phone, talking to your fellow passengers, messing with your stereo, plugging in a new address on your GPS — these are traps that are very easy to fall into, but it’s vital that you don’t. Keep your eyes, and your mind, on the road, so everyone arrives safely.
Preparing for holiday season driving means making sure your vehicle is road-ready — and that you are, too. Plan ahead for the weather, give yourself ample time to stop every now and then, and definitely keep your phone charged but do not use it while you travel. Happy holidays!