Hitting the road for the holidays or a family vacation? Last year, 46% of travelers drove during the holiday season. That’s a lot of drivers on the road! To help your family be ready for the journey, HomeFirst® Agency has these safety tips for you to buckle down before you buckle up.
Before Taking Off
Know your route in advance and any alternative ones you may want to take in case of traffic or construction.
Check the weather for when you will be traveling. If it is predicted to rain, snow or have high winds, make sure your car is prepared for those conditions and that you drive with caution.
Check your car for any maintenance issues and take care of them before you leave. Also, make sure your emergency kits are well stocked.
Have a spare tire, the proper tools and essential items such as jumper cables packed and in good condition. Store your roadside assistance contacts and information where you can find it, such as in your glovebox.
Fill up your gas tank and pack the car the night before to avoid extra stress and delays in leaving the next day.
Get a good night’s sleep. You will want to be alert for the drive. Driving while tired can make it difficult to keep your focus on the road.
Avoid busy times and leave earlier or later than high-peak traffic periods. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time for travel by not leaving at the last minute.
While on the Road
Stay buckled. Long car rides can get uncomfortable, and though it may be tempting to unbuckle and stretch out, do not remove your or your children’s seat belt. Check these guidelines to make sure your children have their seat belts on properly.
Slow down. Speeding puts you and other drivers at a greater risk for accidents.
Consider less congested routes. If traffic is heavy, knowing those alternative or more scenic ways in advance can come in handy.
Take breaks often. Let yourself stretch, use the bathroom or get coffee if needed. Taking breaks will help you stay alert and not risk getting too tired. If you do get overly tired, consider stopping for the day. You can also plan to break up a long drive into a couple of days so you can rest.
Keep phones fully charged. You do not want to be stranded with a dead battery in the event of an emergency or needing directions. Bring a charged portable power bank just in case.
Avoid distractions. Do not text, call or scroll through your phone while driving. Pull over in a safe place or stop somewhere if you need to use your phone. If you are driving a passenger, they can answer calls or texts for you. If you have children in the car, packing snacks and items to keep them entertained may help keep backseat noise down.
Keep your gas tank full. Don’t risk breaking down by waiting until the needle is on E before refueling.
Lock your valuables in the trunk.
Stick together. Escort your children to bathrooms and rest areas.
Have disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer on hand and use often after pumping gas, touching doors or going to the bathroom.
Be aware of your surroundings. Stop at well-lit and populated areas. Park away from other vehicles if possible. If a situation or person seems suspicious, do not get out of the car. Leave and find a safer place.