Holiday travel is back on the planner! After a year of isolated or socially distanced festivities, we anticipate more people taking to the road and skies this holiday season. But wintry weather and extensive travel time can lead to safety hazards. Here are seven holiday travel safety tips to know before you hit the road.
- Have your car inspected or serviced before you leave, and keep an emergency kit in it.
Car trouble is a common issue for travelers during the holidays. You don’t want to end up stuck on the side of the road in cold weather instead of tucked in around the table with a piece of Grandma’s homemade pie. Be proactive to avoid hazards like a blown tire. Take your car in for an inspection and any necessary maintenance, particularly on your tires— make sure they’re winter-ready and properly inflated for the long drive. Prepare a car emergency kit with necessities like a safety cone, carjack, flashlight, and jumper cables. Include first aid essentials and extras like a blanket to stay warm if you break down in the cold.
- Know how to drive safely on icy roads.
Study up to ensure you know how to safely navigate icy, wet, or slushy roads. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
- Avoid driving until roads have been plowed and sanded.
- Give yourself extra time to get to your destination so you don’t rush in suboptimal conditions.
- Decrease your speed as needed.
- Leave yourself plenty of room behind other vehicles so you can stop safely on slick roads.
- Plan the drive ahead of time, and know alternate routes.
Proper planning ensures that you’re prepared for whatever might happen during your trip. If you’re driving down a highway and hit construction, a road closure, or severe traffic, it can feel impossible to figure out an alternate route on the fly. When you plot your course, note alternate routes in advance. Tools like a vehicle navigation system or an app like Waze can alert you to potential snags and reroute you safely. These can be a huge help when it comes to staying on track, avoiding road closures, or finding your way back to the main road if you get lost. Also, if you want to avoid traffic, time your travel to put you on busy roads before or after peak traffic times.
- Make frequent rest stops.
Winter driving challenges can tire you out much more than driving in the summer. Make frequent stops to rest or just stretch your legs. It’s important to keep your energy level high enough to stay alert on the road. Stopping for even a few minutes every couple hours can do wonders for keeping your energy high.
- Carry a cell phone and charger.
You never know when or where car troubles may rear their ugly head. A mobile phone lets you call for help, get a tow, or arrange alternative transportation if you run into trouble. But it won’t do you any good if the battery dies. Make sure you grab your phone charger before you leave the house. A wall charger is good when you’re making a stop, but a car charger is better when you’re on the road.
If you have a smartphone, you can also download apps to help you in your time of need. It’s also a good idea to download or take a picture of your insurance card.
- Stay hydrated.
Dehydration may not be on the top of your list of holiday travel safety hazards, but not having enough water during a long drive could mean fatigue or decreased alertness—and that’s dangerous on the road. Keep a few bottles of water handy, and sip often to keep yourself hydrated throughout the trip.
- Give someone close to you a copy of your trip itinerary and photocopies of important documents.
Before you leave, give a copy of your itinerary and all necessary contact information to a relative or friend. This way it will be easy to reach you in case of an emergency, whether you’re on your way out or heading back home. Also, leave photocopies of your passports, credit cards, and any other types of identification with this person in case something happens to the originals and you need a photocopy. It’s also smart to keep a separate set of photocopies in your luggage.
The holidays don’t have to be a dangerous time to travel. Use these holiday travel safety tips to be proactive about travel safety. That way you’ll spend time focused on the fun, not stressed about something going wrong. At The Insurance Center, your road safety is very important to us. Call us at (252) 637-4173 or visit our website at https://www.ticnc.com/ to discuss your auto insurance needs. We can provide coverage from many insurance carriers so you receive the insurance for your budget and needs!