Whether you’re going on a road trip, or driving miles looking for the perfect gifts, this Holiday season you should be even more cautious than usual. Late December is also one of the busiest times of the year on America’s roadways as many travelers will choose to drive to their Holiday destinations. Those crowded highways, unfortunately, tend to lead to far too many traffic-related fatalities. In fact, Christmas ranks as one of the highest on the list of Most Dangerous Holidays according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data.
These next tips will, hopefully, make holiday driving more enjoyable, safe, and stress-free:
1. The first step is to make sure your vehicle is operating properly. The lights, oil, tires (condition and pressure level), belts and hoses, brake fluid, antifreeze fluid and the condition of the battery should all be checked by a professional before leaving.
2. Plan your route in advance and check traffic reports and weather conditions before you leave. As a backup, bring along a paper map. Even with a GPS system it’s wise to bring along another option should something occur where using a GPS is not possible.
3. Drive defensively and don’t respond to aggressive drivers: It’s far less frustrating to let an aggressive driver pass than to become aggressive yourself.
4. It sounds simple, but a good night’s sleep before departing can help make the trip more enjoyable. Be sure to take regular breaks during long road trips as it can be very dangerous to drive when you’re overly tired.
5. Be prepared for emergencies – keep a blanket, boots, an extra pair of gloves and a flashlight in the trunk of your car.
6. Finally, relax. Driving during the holiday season can be stressful. Frustration can lead to poor decisions and risky behavior behind the wheel. However, with the right attitude and some pre-planning it can also be more enjoyable.