When we enter the holiday season, it means that you may be traveling in your car. It also means that there may be more people traveling where you live that can cause hazards on the road. No matter if you are driving a long distance or a short one, you want to be prepared for what you may find on the road. You may end up driving in conditions that you are not used to, which could be difficult for you. So before you get on the road, review these holiday car travel tips and travel safely.
Service Your Car
Before you get on the road, one of the best holiday car travel tips you can follow is to ensure your car is ready to travel any distance in any weather. While you should have regular maintenance performed on your vehicle and a basic rule, you especially want to ensure your car has been fully serviced before you head out on a trip. If you have oil change coupons, now is the time to use them. You want to make sure you have your oil changed and all your fluids topped off.
In addition to car service, you want to check the outside and inside of your car. It would be best if you made sure all of your lights, including the brakes, are in good working order. You want to consider car washes before getting on the road for the season. On the inside of the car, you want to check your safety and driver assists are working properly. These assists may include blind-spot monitoring, collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and cross-traffic alert. It would be best if you had all of these assists on while driving.
Check Your Tires
When you are considering visiting family and friends, follow these holiday car travel tips for your tires. It is important that you have the right tires for the weather you may encounter. There are winter tires, summer tires, and all-weather tires. It is essential that you understand which tires are ideal for your trip. You can base it on the weather you will encounter and the type of road you will be on. If you select the appropriate tires, you may not need tire repair while traveling. You want to make sure that you have a tire pressure gauge with you while you travel. You should make it a habit to check your tire pressure on a monthly basis, but also check it while you are traveling, especially during the winter. Your tires tend to lose pressure as the temperature gets colder. When you do not have enough pressure in your tires, they are not safe on the road. They are even less safe when the roads are wet or icy.
You should take every precaution to make sure you are safe while you are on the road. This safety includes making sure you have an emergency kit in your car at all times. One of the critical holiday car travel tips is to make sure that you have an emergency car kit in your vehicle before you travel. You may be able to find all the items you need at a car parts store for your emergency kit. Some of the items you want to make sure you have in your kit includes:
- Thermal blankets
- Flashlights with batteries that work
- Jumper cables
- Hand warmers
- Non-perishable food
- Water to drink
- Fire extinguisher
- Rain poncho
- Inflated spare tire
- Multipurpose tool
- Snow brush
- Cat litter
- First aid kit
You want to make sure you have an extra charger for your phone. You run low on power at the worst times. You want to check on your emergency kit twice a year to replace any items that have expired.
Check Your Insurance Policy
When you are planning to hit the road, there are some holiday car travel tips to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure that you have the proper insurance coverage. It is in your best interest to contact your car insurance company and agent to go over your insurance policy to ensure you have the appropriate amount of coverage. This coverage includes trip accident coverage to ensure you have what you need for any unexpected incidents. While you will not be able to predict what might happen, you can at least have coverage for what might come your way. You also may want to ensure that you have protection in case you need a car towing service or a rental car while traveling.
Prepare Your Route
One of the great holiday car travel tips for you to consider is to prepare the route for your trip. You want to preset your navigation in your GPS, travel app or print out the course ahead of time. Do not wait until the last minute, or you may be scrambling as you pack your bags. No matter what the travel app tells you, add some time to it. You want to make sure you have an adequate amount of time to get to your destination. You do not want to feel rushed, especially when you run into poor weather and traffic. You want to make sure that you check the local traffic in the areas where you will travel. In addition, you want to keep an eye on the weather reports in those areas to have some idea of what you are heading into.
Protect Your Car
Another one of the key holiday car travel tips is to protect your car. While you are protecting yourself while you drive, from a car accident or traffic, you do not want to forget to protect your car while it is parked. You may want to find quality car collision repair, just in case you are in an accident. You want to protect your car from theft and a break-in. It is easy to forget that your car could be a target. You can easily move the items from your car into your trunk or not leave anything in your car when you are not in it. You should pay attention to where you are parking your car and be mindful of your surroundings to keep your car safe.
It is essential that you eliminate distractions any time you are driving. It is even more important that one of your holiday car travel tips is to plan to remove distractions as much as possible while driving. You want to make sure you do a comprehensive car cleaning before you leave. You want to make sure the outside of the car is clean but also clean out the front of the car. In an effort to minimize distractions as much as possible, you should set up as much as you can, including car audio, ahead of time. In addition to music, you can set up any movies, games, or playlist and have it all ready to go before you leave. You do not want to get distracted playing with the radio or setting up music. You want to make sure that you do not text while you are driving. Do not talk while driving unless you have the ability to talk hands-free. You should pull over in a safe place if it is an emergency and you need to make or answer a call.
When you start to think about holiday car travel tips, it is essential that you consider your trip and take breaks. You want to take regular breaks. The longer the trip is, the more likely you are going to get tired while driving. Therefore, it is critical that you take breaks often. You want to consider planning rest areas on your trip. Planning to stop every two hours to four hours is a good idea. Although, if you are facing inclement weather, you want to stop more often. When driving at night, during snow or soft rain, it can make you feel sleepy. Before you leave for your trip, you want to get a restful night of sleep. If you do not get enough sleep, you can feel the negative impacts of lack of sleep. You may notice that your motor skills have slowed down when you have less sleep. If you feel that you are getting sleepy, you can make a stop, take a break, get coffee, stretch, or take a walk. If you are driving a long distance and you have a passenger, you want to switch driving with your passenger.
It is never a good idea to drink and drive, no matter how small the amount of alcohol is that you consume. One of the most fabulous holiday car travel tips you can receive is the advice to not drink when you are going to be driving a car long distances. If you think you may want to have a drink, make sure you have a designated driver. Holiday parties and family events often include alcohol, and you may be tempted. If so, be sure to have a designated driver.
Obey Traffic Laws
When you are on the road, the responsibility falls to you to stay as safe as you can while driving. You want to follow all of the traffic laws on the road, including driving the speed limit. Driving faster may be able to reduce your travel time and get you to your destination quickly. Speeding can be risky on the roads, especially when there are a lot of travelers on the road. You cannot be sure which other drivers on the road may have been drinking and under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. You want to make sure that you yield to other drivers. It would be best if you gave yourself plenty of room between yourself and other cars on the road. This can help you avoid sudden stops and get into accidents with other vehicles. Not only do you want to watch your speed while driving, but you also want to brake carefully. You should apply the brakes slowly. You want to keep in mind that while all-wheel-drive may help you drive on slick roads. It will not, however, help you stop in those conditions.
Know How to Drive in Winter Weather
If you are not used to driving on slick roads or in winter weather, you should, at a minimum, understand how to drive in winter weather. You want to avoid driving on roads that have not been sanded and plowed if you can. Sometimes, you may not be able to avoid it. You may find yourself driving on the road when it begins snowing, sleeting, or raining. When you find yourself on the road in these conditions, you should slow down. You should decrease your speed. Giving yourself extra time to get where you are going is beneficial when the weather is poor. When traveling long distances, it is helpful to slow down and provide yourself more time to get where you want to go. Also, be sure to leave plenty of room between you and other vehicles on the road, especially when there are slick surfaces.
Traveling during the holidays to visit family and friends can be exciting. However, it can also be stressful to prepare for the trip and make sure your vehicle is ready. These tips help you prepare your vehicle inside. They also provide you with ways to stay safe and focused while on the road. The holiday season brings a lot more people on the road. Therefore, you have to do your best to keep yourself and your family while traveling this holiday season. This means being mindful of others that are on the road with you while practicing safe driving techniques.