In addition to universal driving rules, do not speed, do not text, and do not drink and drive over the holidays. We’ve assembled some additional tips here to help make your holiday driving more enjoyable and safe – and to reduce those holiday stress levels!
• The first step is to make sure your vehicle is operating properly. The lights, oil level, tires, belts and hoses, brake fluid, and battery condition should all be checked by a professional before you leave on any holiday road trip.
• 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 have another option should something occur that makes using a GPS impossible.
• Follow speed limits and remember excess traffic and congestion on the roads may mean you’ll need to travel below posted speed limits. Drive defensively and don’t respond to aggressive drivers. It’s far less frustrating to just let an aggressive driver pass than to become aggressive yourself.
• It sounds simple, but getting 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. Pull over and stop in a safe area if you become fatigued, and take a break every two hours or every 100 miles.
• Be prepared for emergencies. Keep a blanket, shoes, an extra pair of gloves, and a flashlight in the trunk of your car. Traction mats, kitty litter, and sand can be used to improve traction on icy surfaces. Also, keep the gas tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freezing in colder climates.
• Don’t forget to secure your home when you leave, and do not post on social media sites that you’ll be away. Timers to turn lights on and off can give the impression that the property is occupied. If possible, have a neighbor or relative check on the house and even park a car in the driveway. Let someone know where you’re going and what time you expect to be there.
• Finally – relax. Driving during the holiday season can be stressful, and frustration can lead to poor decision-making and risky behavior behind the wheel. However, the right attitude and some pre-planning can help increase the enjoyment level.
While it can be stressful imagining the miles that lay between you and your destination, some sporadic deep breaths along with a positive attitude can go a long way. Remember to relax and focus on what’s truly important: reaching your destination safely and having fun with family and friends! W