from your friends at Hegarty-Haynes Insurance, Inc!
The holiday season has officially arrived, and with it, the busiest travel season of the year. Many will hit the open road and skies over the course of the next month, because as we all know, no holiday would be complete without being in the company of friends and family.
Although we are sure plates stacked with mountains of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie provide good reason to travel as well. In fact, according to AAA, 50 million people are expected to hit the road this very week in celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Traveling during the holidays, however, can cause the best of us to stress as we are met with transportation delays and heavy traffic at every turn. We did mention there are going to be 50 million drivers all trying to make it to their family’s dinner, and perhaps, Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, right?
The following travel safety tips for the holidays will ensure that you arrive safely at your final destination, so that you too can enjoy being in the company of those closest to you this season, while also avoiding many of the stressors associated with holiday travel.
#1. Motor Vehicle Safety
Please don’t go anywhere in your car until you’ve ensured it is properly maintained. At the very least, you should have your car, tires, lights, and fluids professionally inspected before hitting the open road for the holidays.
#2. Mind Mother Nature
Check the weather along your route and plan accordingly. Winter storm headed your way? Find another route or, if possible, head out a day earlier to avoid it. You can check the weather by visiting the National Weather Service’s website.
#3. Tell Someone of Your Plans
You should always inform someone, preferably a close friend, family member or neighbor, of your travel plans. However, we do caution against posting your absence on social media. If something were to happen, your contact person would be informed, which could make a world of difference.
#4. Don’t Drive Distracted
When you’re driving, 100% of your attention must be on the road at all times, thus ensuring your safe arrival. This includes driving while using cell phones for both talking and texting (both hands on the wheel). It also includes checking when a store opens for Black Friday. Not paying attention while driving can lead to people getting hurt.
#5. Avoid Driving Fatigued
It sounds simple enough, but a good night’s sleep before departing can make for a more enjoyable, and safer drive. Be sure to take regular breaks during long road trips to avoid becoming overly tired. Pull over in a safe, well-lit area if you’re tired, or around every 100 miles or 2 hours.
#6. Follow the Rules of the Road
Follow posted speed limit and other signs. You should also refrain from tailgating, driving defensively, and responding to aggressive drivers: It’s far less frustrating to let an aggressive driver pass you than to become aggressive yourself. Like you, everyone is trying to get somewhere, and get there safely.
#7. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Keep a blanket, boots, extra pair of gloves, change of clothes, flashlight, flare, jumper cables, jack and a supply food/water in the trunk of your vehicle in the event of an emergency. Traction mats, kitty litter or sand can be used to improve traction on icy roads, should you get stuck.
#8. Don’t Leave Your Pets or Children in the Car
While this should go without saying, yearly statistics necessitate the need for reinforcing the importance of taking your pets and children with you, rather than leaving them in the car. In the winter, both children and pets are at risk of hypothermia, frost bite and, unfortunately, even death in extreme conditions.