The holidays are a special season when many people take vacations to be with loved ones that they don’t see very much during the rest of the year. This means millions of holiday travelers hitting the roads to visit with relatives or friends that live out of the area. It will be a little different this year with COVID-19, and some will opt for virtual visits out of an abundance of caution; but many others will continue in the tradition of spending quality time with those closest to them.
If you are one of those who is taking a trip this year to spend time with family and friends, be sure to observe all of the CDC guidelines with regards to the size of gatherings, distancing, wearing face coverings, etc. Also be sure that you are ready to travel safely this year.
Here are some important tips for staying safe on the roadways during this holiday season:
Prepare your Vehicle for the Trip
When you are preparing to travel a significant distance, you need to make sure that your car is ready for the trip. Some of the areas that should be checked out include:
- Your oil level and other fluid levels. Change your oil if it is close to the mileage threshold or due date.
- The amount of tread left on your tires. Replace tires that have little to no tread left, rotate your tires if the mechanic recommends it, and make sure they are properly inflated.
- The condition of your spark plugs. Replace your spark plugs if there are any misfires.
- The charging capability of your battery. If your battery is losing its charge, have it reconditioned or replaced depending on what your mechanic recommends.
- The condition of your wiper blades. If your wiper blades are damaged or worn and leaving streaks on the windshield, have them replaced.
- Any other repairs that are recommended by your mechanic.
Plan your Route in Advance
Before you start out on your trip, plan your route carefully and know what roads you are going to be taking, so your GPS does not become a major distraction while you are driving. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination, so you are not tempted to speed or drive aggressively. Be sure to account for areas of road construction and frequent traffic slowdowns, as well as any inclement weather you expect to be encountering.
As far as the weather goes, if you are staying in the southeast region of the country, you should not run into any of the brutal winter weather that is common up north. But that said, even states like Alabama can have hail and freezing rain and the occasional snowfall.
Assemble an Emergency Kit
You should have emergency supplies along in case you get stranded on the road and have to wait for someone to come and help. In your emergency kit, consider adding the following items:
- A first-aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Snacks and drinking water
- A functional spare tire
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A phone charger
- A functional spare tire
Be sure to also sign up for emergency roadside assistance if you do not already have this service. Most auto insurers offer this as a policy add-on for a few dollars per month, or you can purchase the service from an outside provider such as AAA for less than $100 per year.
Be Well Rested Before Driving
When you drive a long distance, there is a tendency to get drowsy or fatigued. To help prevent this from happening, be sure to have plenty of rest before you head out. The average adult should have about seven hours of sleep prior to making a long drive, and if there are any teens driving, they should have at least eight hours of sleep.
Stay Safe during Stops
During a long trip, you will want to take frequent breaks (every few hours or so) to stretch, eat, fuel up, use the restroom, or maybe even take a short nap if needed. When you stop, be mindful of the health risks you may encounter when you touch surfaces that have been touched by countless other travelers. Wash your hands frequently and use lots of hand sanitizer during these stops. Remember that this is also flu season, so be sure to get your flu shot and follow all of the best practices recommended by the health agencies.
Happy Holidays from Burge & Burge
From all of us at Burge & Burge, we wish you a happy and joyous holiday season. Whether you are staying at home and doing virtual visits or planning to travel, do everything you can to stay safe and healthy.
If you happen to get into a car accident during the holiday season or anytime, remember that we are always here to help. Give us a call or message us online to schedule a free consultation and case assessment with one of our attorneys.