An estimated 215 million people will hit the road to get to their holiday destination this year. If you are one such family, no doubt you are already gearing up for the journey ahead.
But before you pack up the kids, food and gifts this Thanksgiving weekend, make sure you and your family get to your final destination safe and sound by minding the following simple tips, as recommended by AAA:
Give Your Vehicle a Proper Tune-up
Long-distance road trips are not only hard on weary parents with excited backseat passengers, but also on cars. Prior to hitting the road, it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle is able to handle the trip by getting the engine and tires professionally inspected. If you haven’t already, you should also prep your car for winter weather by checking items such as the brakes, spark plugs and battery.
Plan Your Route
There are few things more frustrating than getting lost or stuck in traffic, and frustration can quickly lead to reckless driving. Map your route in advance, so you can try avoiding stretches of road that you know will the busiest or more prone to car accidents. Be prepared for holiday traffic regardless—as busy roads are as much a sign of the season as yellow leaves and smoking chimneys—but consider leaving earlier or later to avoid the worst of it, if possible.
Pack the Car Safely
If you are like most families, getting everyone and everything into the car can be challenging and chaotic. Make sure that in your haste you do not neglect to use care and caution when packing up your car. Keep anything of value in the trunk or a covered storage area, and move any items that obstruct your view while driving.
Make Sure Children Know the “Road Rules”
If you’re traveling with kids, go over some road trip rules with them as soon as you get in the car. For instance, remind them not to talk to strangers when you make pit stops or take bathroom breaks, and to remain buckled up at all times. Other rules (like how many times they are allowed to ask, “Are we there yet?”) are up to you.
Bring a Roadside “Survival Kit”
In case of an emergency, pack a roadside “survival kit” in the vehicle. The kit should include items like a flashlight, extra batteries, reflective triangles, compass, first aid kit, exterior windshield cleaner, ice scraper, matches and a few non-perishable foods items like canned nuts, dried fruits and hard candy. You will also want to keep a cell phone and car charger with you at all times in case you need to call for assistance.
With everything that goes on this time of year, it’s important to remember to keep safety on the menu (in addition to the turkey and mashed potatoes, of course), especially when it comes to holiday road travel.
Nobody wants to deal with an auto collision, especially this time of year. So keep your holidays happy this season by doing a little safety prep.