Whether you’re getting together with friends and family or stealing away from the daily grind for a few days, the destination behind your holiday drive can light up your season. But travel during these busy times can be stressful — and sometimes hazardous. Help your journey go as smooth as possible with these seven holiday traffic safety tips:
Get Your Vehicle Ready
Don’t risk breaking down on the side of the road this holiday season. Before your trip, check your vehicle to make sure your maintenance is current and verify you’ve got a full tank of gas. Get the best grip in the cold months with tires that are well-suited for your region’s winter storms and have plenty of tread. Replace your wiper blades if necessary, and double check that your battery has enough cold cranking amps to get you running in sub-zero temperatures.
Pack an Emergency Kit
If you don’t already have an emergency kit in your trunk, an upcoming holiday trip is a great reason to get one. You always want to be ready should a disaster, or even just a small hiccup, come to pass.
Keep a Snack Within Reach
Even if you have food in your emergency kit, keep a few extra non-perishable snacks in your car. If a winter storm or holiday traffic jam adds unexpected time to your journey, an easy-to-reach snack can quickly refuel your brain and replenish your holiday cheer.
Plan Your Trip Before You Hit the Road
Map your course before you leave to find the best path through congested areas and to navigate regions that become perilous when it storms. While driving, don’t be tempted to take an unfamiliar shortcut. Major routes may be more crowded, but because they are given a higher priority for snowplows and road crews, they also tend to be better maintained.
Check Route Requirements
Before you leave, find out if the roads you will be traveling on have any weather-related restrictions. For example, some mountain passes only allow vehicles with the proper snow tires, cables or chains when it’s icy. If you aren’t sure, contact the state’s highway department for up-to-date traffic information and travel restrictions.
Add a Buffer to Your Schedule
Slow-moving traffic and inclement weather can quickly tack on loads of extra time to your drive. Compensate for potential delays like these when planning your travel itinerary.
Keep Your Cool
Travel doesn’t always go as planned. Add in the extra undertakings tied to the holiday season, and your mood can quickly swing from celebratory to stressed. One of the most important holiday traffic safety tips is to keep calm, allow aggressive drivers to pass on by and do your best to go with the flow of holiday traffic.
You’ll be home with your family sipping egg nog before you know it.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on getting your car ready for holiday travel, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Flickr
As a freelance automotive writer, I create articles, how-to guides, web content and white papers for online magazine site and automotive companies. I passionately believe that cars and motorcycles should be appreciated for the works of art they are, and fantasize about owning a white Ducati 899 Panigale to display in my living room. I am currently the Corvette expert at About.com, cover alternatively-fueled vehicles and technology at HybridCars.com, and hold the imaginary title of Formula One test driver on the back roads surrounding my Oregon home.