[Updated 9/26/2020] If your holiday plans include a trip over the river and through the woods to spend time with family and loved ones, the last thing you need is an unpleasant surprise while you’re on the road. Whether you’re heading across the country or across town, keep these holiday travel tips in mind to ensure a safe, smooth trip.
Holiday Travel Tips
The holiday season brings about some of the busiest travel days of the year. With so many people on the road and a higher chance of inclement weather, there is an increased risk of unexpected problems. Fortunately, there are a lot of simple things you can do to keep your family safe and avoid problems.
Do a Pre-Trip Inspection
Before you’re ready to hit the road, give your car a good once over. Check all your fluids, including oil, windshield washer fluid, coolant, and transmission fluid. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. If you’ve noticed any problems or your check engine light is on, have your car looked over by your mechanic, just to be on the safe side.
Prepare for Emergencies
Even if you are certain your car is in perfect condition, you should always be prepared for emergencies. Check your spare tire, and make sure it’s in good, usable condition in case you get a flat along the road. Of course, you also need to make sure you have the necessary tools to change the tire. Having a basic tool kit in the trunk can go a long way toward helping you make minor repairs on the road.
If you’ll be traveling in areas impacted by harsh winter weather, you should take a basic winter survival kit, too. Blankets, a flashlight, bottled water, and non-perishable food items should always be in the car, just in case. Some extra cash, or money reserved on an emergency credit card, will also come in handy if you find yourself in need of repairs or a hotel room for the night.
Don’t Travel During Peak Travel Times
If possible, schedule your trip on less busy days. If you must travel on the major travel days, opt to leave early in the morning or late at night so you can beat the heaviest traffic. Not only will you save time, but you will also be less likely to be involved in an accident. If you’re going on a long trip that requires several hours, or even days, on the road, plan ahead so that you will pass through major cities during less busy hours to avoid getting caught up in rush hour traffic.
Don’t rely on just putting your destination in your GPS the morning of your departure. Plan your route out ahead of time. Doing so will let you know how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B, and it will also give you an opportunity to plan your stops along the way. If you’re traveling to or through rural areas, this could be especially helpful in allowing you to determine where to stop to rest for the night or to fill up the tank when hotels and gas stations are few and far between.
Take Frequent Breaks
Driving during the winter months can be much more exhausting than summer driving. Don’t let your desire to get to your destination in a hurry keep you from taking the breaks your body needs. Just stopping for a few minutes to stand up and stretch your legs goes a long way towards keeping you awake and alert.
Whether your holiday travels are taking you around the block or around the country, I would like to extend warm wishes for a safe and happy holiday from all of us here at Tech Automotive. If you need any help getting your car road trip ready or you need some repairs when you get home, we’re here to help. Give us a call.