With the holiday season approaching, many people will be leaving town to visit loved ones or spending time exploring new horizons across the globe, while others will stay home and await the arrival of family and friends. Whether you’re traveling across the country or staying in the comfort of your own home, safety is always a top priority. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while traveling!
On The Road
Road trips can be a lot of fun, but driving comes with plenty of dangers even on non-holidays. First, make sure your car is in good condition. Take it into the shop for a check up at least a week before your trip to plan for any required maintenance. The shop should check:
- Your tires (their pressure and their general condition)
- All the belts and hoses
- Antifreeze fluid
- Brake fluid
- Battery levels
Develop a plan and set a schedule for all the driving you will be doing. Try to avoid driving during rush hours—usually around 9:00 in the mornings and around 5:00 in the evenings. More traffic often means more angry drivers and a higher potential for accidents. Check weather reports along your route as well.
Look for parking options BEFORE arriving at the airport, bus or train station. Lock your car and hide all valuables! Make a note of your cars location and make sure you have the number of the shuttle service for when you get back into town.
While you should definitely use a GPS to help you along your route and keep you from getting lost, bring a paper map and printed out directions as well. Your GPS may run out of battery power or suffer technical difficulties. Remember that distracted driving is unsafe driving. Have your copilot navigate. If you really need to take a call or look up directions, find the nearest rest stop or wait until you can safely pull off onto the shoulder.
Be extra careful about following all driving rules, from speed limits to passing to using your turn signals. Drive more defensively than normal, especially when you drive somewhere unfamiliar. Try not to respond to more aggressive drivers around you. It’s much easier to let them pass you instead of becoming aggressive yourself. Above all, make sure you and everyone else in your vehicle are buckled up.
Make sure you’re equipped in the event that you do wind up on the shoulder of the road. Flat tires, stalled engines, and tiny fender benders happen when you least expect them. Keep an emergency kit in your trunk so that you’re always prepared. A basic kit should include:
- A set of road flares
- A flashlight
- A pair of gloves
- A blanket
- A pair of rain boots
Most importantly, make sure you take care of your personal and mental health for the trip. Get a good night of sleep - at least 8 hours - before your trip and eat a healthy but not heavy breakfast. Take plenty of breaks during your trip to stretch your legs, get some food, and use the restroom. When you’re actually on the road, try to relax. Listen to some music or talk with your family. The holidays can be frustrating for everyone, which can lead to bad driving and poor decisions when you’re on the road. A good attitude will make for a better, safer experience for everyone involved.
If you’re taking a longer trip or just don’t want to deal with a car, you can enjoy the miracle of human flight. Thankfully, the process is pretty safe on its own. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to check in and get through security. You should generally try to make it to the airport 90 minutes to two hours before your flight, but you might want to add an hour during the holidays. It’s better to hang out at the airport for a little bit than to see your plane flying away without you in it.
Always keep an eye on your kids. Once you’re on the plane, make sure you and your family are buckled in. Keep your seat belts on even if the seat belt light isn’t on.
Traveling can be a real headache, but with some planning and preparation, you should be carving turkey, opening gifts, and singing carols in no time.