The holiday season (from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day) is typically the busiest travel time of the year. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, during the Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by about 54 percent. During the Christmas/New Year’s travel period, the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number during the rest of the year. While airports, bus stations, and trains get major traffic during the holidays, most long-distance holiday travel is done by personal vehicle.
Traveling with more cars on the road can make your travel experience stressful. If you plan on driving somewhere during the holidays, take a look at our holiday travel driving tips to make your trip a little easier:
• Get your car examined – Before driving a long distance, it is a good idea to get your car looked at, especially if you will be driving in winter conditions. Getting a quick tune-up can give you peace of mind and help you to avoid unfortunate car troubles.
• Be prepared for a change in course – Before you depart, familiarize yourself with your travel route and take a look at what the weather will be like. Be aware of and prepared for detours, construction, road closings, and traffic, which could increase your travel time. In heavy traffic areas, tune in to a local radio station to find out about delays. By staying flexible with your plans, you can decrease the stress and anxiety that might come with traveling.
• Stay alert and make frequent stops – Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue and decreased alertness. It is important to stay hydrated, pack food, and make regular stops. With more traffic, and possibly winter conditions, driving can be exhausting. Take time to stop, stretch, get fresh air, and take bathroom breaks. Also, fill up with gas whenever you are able to. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and you’ll be thankful that you have gas in your tank when you are stuck in traffic.
• Pack a safety kit – Pack safety essentials in your car, such as a cell phone, car charger, rope, jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight, blanket, etc.
• Remember basic car safety – Always wear your seat-belt, use extra caution in work zones, and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.
• Stay in touch – Let someone know your destination, route, and expected arrival time, so that they can contact you if something arises.