Traveling to be home with family, or to get to a vacation spot for the holidays, is an American tradition. We even include the busy traffic in our holiday songs! The busy traffic and weather conditions this time of year, however, often create conditions for more accidents. Learn how to stay safe on the roads this holiday season.

Before You Hit the Road 

Spending more time on planning beforehand can not only make your trip safer, but save time in the long run. Inspect your vehicle and perform any maintenance needed before your trip. Having proper fluid levels is important for keeping you from being stranded, and ensuring those tires have the proper tread depth and are inflated to your vehicle’s specifications will help you maintain your grip on the road and avoid a devastating car accident

Check the weather for your route ahead of time. If a storm will be moving in during your journey, plan to leave earlier to miss the weather. Pay attention to when you might be passing through larger cities to avoid busy traffic times which present a greater danger to motorists.

Have an emergency kit on hand, just in case you do have something happen during the trip. Extra blankets and warm clothes are a good idea to have on hand, as is drinking water and healthy snack bars. Consider adding some sand, cat litter, or traction mats in case you get stuck, as well as a small shovel to help get out of a bad situation.

Safe Driving Techniques

Unless the road is clean and dry, the best advice is to slow down to allow time to react to problems on the road. Increase the following distance behind the vehicle in front of you to as much as eight to ten seconds, and keep an eye on how close the vehicle behind you is as well. On slick roadways, accelerate slowly and plan for a much greater stopping distance.

Always stay focused on driving. Let passengers adjust the radio or heater, and let them handle responding to any phone calls or messages that come during the drive.

If you begin to feel drowsy, find the nearest safe space to leave the road, and get out and get a little exercise and fresh air. It’s recommended that you stop every two hours or 100 miles to keep alert and fresh for the task of driving.

Make the Journey Pleasant and Safe

Ensure smaller children have activities to keep them entertained during the journey. Have snacks available in case they are hungry as well. Unhappy children can increase the tension of the journey and create an unsafe distraction.

When stopping, ensure that valuables are not in plain sight, tempting thieves to steal your Christmas spirit. A large blanket can double as security in case of being stranded and as cover for valuables.

Make sure chargers for phones are in the vehicle with you. Keeping phones charged can enable passengers to check the weather and traffic conditions along your route as you drive.

As always, buckle up and ensure every passenger is securely buckled up as well. Stay safe this holiday season on the roads and return home as merry as you left.