Nearly 49 million Americans will hit the road this holiday season, driving through all sorts of weather conditions from sunny and bright to rain and snow. Of course, depending on the destination, certain preparations must be made to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey. In order to reduce the stress of holiday related travel, here are some tips to remember:
Leave early – Reduce the need to speed by planning to leave for your destination with ample time to allow for unplanned stops like traffic jams, road maintenance and repair, and unfamiliar territory. If you are traveling through a territory that experienced recent weather related calamity, you might not find your usual detour available. Listen for as many road condition reports as you can. An old fashioned map or atlas will go a long way to help you get back to the main road when you can’t get a signal.
Shop and Ship – Resist the urge to load all the gifts in the car. When you stop along the way, you don’t want thieves breaking in and taking those shiny presents they spy through the windows. With a site like Groupon offering free shipping on purchases, you can shop early and have everything shipped to your destination. Steinmart is offering holiday prices on gifts for the whole family, and discounts of up to 80% off selected merchandise.
Prepare your vehicle – Make sure you’ve checked under, over and around the car to look for problems with your tires. Lift the hood and make sure your fluids are topped off and there are no weak spots or cracks in hoses. Check your lights, brake fluid, antifreeze and battery so you can take care of any problems that may lead to a breakdown out of town. And be sure your emergency service membership is active.
Prepare for Emergencies – Don’t feel overconfident that nothing will happen because you’ve made this short trip a dozen times without a problem. It’s still a fact that most accidents occur within a few miles of home. Have your registration and insurance handy. Know the names and numbers of those who are expecting you. Pack snacks, blankets, gloves, flashlights and flares for your comfort and protection if stranded in the dark.
Most of all, no drinking and driving, texting or road raging. And have a wonderful time.