Let’s sleigh it: holiday travel tips while driving
December 15, 2022
It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be the busiest time of year on the road. We learned from asurvey by PWC that in 2021, nearly half of consumers were gearing up to travel during the holiday season, with the vast majority traveling by car.
In the same survey, similar trends emerged in 2022 with 47 percent of consumers planning to travel for the holiday. And of that 47 percent, more than two thirds plan to travel on U.S. roads. Keep your holidays merry and bright with these helpful tips to stay safe while driving.
Holiday travel tips: before you hit the road
Having car troubleduring holiday travel can turn anyone into a Grinch, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking precautions before hitting the road can be a great way to keep travel stress-free and full of holiday cheer.
1. Get basic maintenance done
Check tire pressure and tread depth
Replace windshield wipers, if necessary
Refill the windshield washer fluid tank
Test your car battery
Check the brakes
Change your car oil, if needed
Because the holiday season brings its own to-dos, try and get car maintenance—whether that’s DIY or at a shop—done a couple weeks before travel.
2. Have an emergency road kit
All of the planning in the world can’t always prepare you for those unexpected moments that may happen on a holiday road trip. Having a winter-specific car emergency kit in your car can help you during those “Bah-humbug” moments. Consider having these items in your vehicle before driving:
Proof of insurance
First aid kit
Ice scraper/snow brush
Extra set of clothing
Water and snack bars (nonperishable)
Sand or cat litter
For those that may have a car kit already—when was the last time you refreshed it? Take a second look at things before traveling to make sure things like band aids and batteries are still “so fresh, so clean.”
3. Map your route
The holidays can equal busy roads, which is why it’s important to map out your travel route and create a backup in the event of accidents or road closures. If you can make it happen, try to head out when there are fewer cars on the road, like first thing in the morning.
Also, download your directions. You can’t always count on your signal, especially in areas with spotty service, so make sure you’re prepared with directions in the event of a lost signal.
4. Plan out those holiday music tunes
One of our favorite holiday travel tips is to plan your road trip tunes. Make your playlist before you hit the road so all you have to do is crank up those holiday tunes and dash away, dash away all (at a mindful speed, of course).
5. Check the weather
The weather outside is frightful, but inside the car it's so delightful. Before taking on the holiday roads, be mindful of weather conditions of where you are, where you’re going and every place in between. For example, if your route has a mountain pass, that weather may look completely different than your destination and will need to be planned for.
6. Brush up on your winter weather driving (if needed)
Whether or not you’re an expert on winter weather driving, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on best practices. If your holiday travel involves some icy and dicey conditions, here are a few practices to implement to help you stay safe while driving:
Increase your following distance from three to four seconds to eight to ten.
Slowly accelerate and brake to avoid sliding
Be patient and aware of other drivers
7. Secure valuables
It can be the most wonderful time of year, especially for thieves. Vehicle thefts and stolen property from vehicles are known to be significantly higher during the holiday season. Take the time during your holiday travel to keep gifts and valuables in the truck or covered storage area, out of plain view.
Holiday travel tips: on the road
Similar to how some folks do their holiday shoppings months in advance, preparation for holiday travel can go a long way. But what are some things you can do during that holiday road trip to make it safe and memorable?
1. Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours
We all need breaks, even on the road. ‘Tis the season to break up your holiday drive every so often to take a physical and mental break. If you have other adults traveling with you, spread some holiday cheer and ask others to swap with you as driver so you can take turns driving.
2. Avoid distractions
On long road trips, especially during the holidays, it doesn’t always take a lot to become distracted. Whether it’s the twinkling lights or the kids yelling from the back seat, it’s still important to stay as distraction-free as possible on your trip. Staying focused while driving can be the best way to make sure you and your loved ones arrive at your destination safely.
3. Practice safe driving: buckle up, slow down
As a last tip, it’s important to practice safe driving. Make sure that everyone is properly seated and buckled for the entire trip. For those with children, buckle kids in age- and size-appropriate seats.
The holidays can be an exciting time full of hustle and bustle, but reminding ourselves to slow down and stay present—that’s the greatest gift of all.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with HiRoad®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. HiRoad is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. HiRoad makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.
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