Driving during the holidays is always more dangerous. More people die in car accidents each year over the three-day Christmas period compared to the rest of the year. So it’s important to exercise extra caution when going on the road for the holidays. Individuals who plan to hit the road this Holiday season should do the following:

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Have a qualified technician inspect their car before a hitting the open road.
  • Look for worn, cracked, blistered or soft belts and hoses. The engine should be turned off first when performing this task.
  • Have the battery tested by a technician to ensure it is working properly.
  • Check the tires every month for tread wear and ensure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated.
  • Check the coolant level and condition. The coolant reservoir must contain the proper mixture of 50% water and 50% coolant.
  • Inspect the level and condition of the engine oil following the recommendations in the owner’s manual.
  • Make sure the windshield washer reservoir is filled.
  • Keep an eye on the gas tank and don’t let the gas level get below one-quarter of a tank.

Driving and Traveling Safety

  • Keep a car emergency kit with them. It should include at least a first aid kit, a flashlight, batteries, warning devices like flares, and water bottles.
  • Avoid alcohol and over-the-counter or illegal drugs if they’re the driver.
  • Check the weather forecast between the starting and stopping points. Choose routes that are less likely to be hit by severe weather like heavy snow.
  • Increase their regular following distance if precipitation makes the road condition difficult. Avoid skids by applying the gas slowly to accelerate.
  • Every person in the car must be properly buckled up no matter how long or short the distance traveled.
  • Never use cell phones while driving. Out of all the distractions that occur while driving, cell phones are the most dangerous.
  • Map their route ahead of time and be prepared for busy roads, and leave earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
  • Make stops every 100 miles or two hours to avoid drowsiness or fatigue while driving.
  • Tell their children not to talk to strangers when they’ve stopped at a public place. Kids must be supervised and given whistles to be used if the family gets separated.
  • Have roadside assistance contact information on hand in case of a road incident.
  • Keep a cell phone and charger with them at all times to get help in case of an emergency.

Stay safe on and off the road, and have a happy and healthy Holiday season!