Thanksgiving driving tips
The Thanksgiving holiday is sometimes called the busiest travel time of the year. With severe weather potentially making driving conditions hazardous this year, consider these driving tips to make your trip safer and easier.
Check your tire pressure and fluid levels and fill your gas tank before you leave. Better to do these chores at a time of your choosing rather than being forced by necessity to do them somewhere along the road.
If your windshield wipers are old and leaving streaks, have them replaced before you start out. And if your vehicle is almost due for regularly scheduled maintenance or hasn't been maintenanced in a while, don't wait until after the holiday. Do it now.
Before you leave, check that your planned route doesn't have construction or other obstacles on it. Better to know beforehand and rearrange your route than to run into unexpected delays. If your car is equipped with a GPS, check it for fuel and rest stops along the way.
Build plenty of time into your travel schedule. Many other travelers will be on the road, so despite preparation, delays can still happen. The trip will go better without having to worry about whether you'll get where you're going on time. And if you can, plan to hit the road during off-hours rather than at peak travel times.
Stow your luggage appropriately. Be sure that it's secure and can't come loose in case of sudden stops, especially if you are carrying packages in the passenger area.
If you have children, bring games, toys and foods to keep them occupied during the journey. Pack extra water and snack foods, just in case.
Dress accordingly. Inside the car it may be climate-controlled, but have your coats, gloves, hats and raingear at hand.
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with items like flashlights (remember to insert fresh batteries), hand-warmers, blankets, first-aid kit, ice scraper, map, flares, jumper cables and simple tools.
Be sure to get plenty of sleep before you start. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drowsy driving causes 100,000 wrecks a year (a number the NHTSA says is probably low, because drowsy driving is underreported). Also, stow away the cell phone and other devices. According to the National Safety Council, using a cell phone while driving makes it four times as likely that you'll crash, and that's with either handheld or hands-free devices.
Traveling during the holidays can be stressful. So do what you can to reduce that stress. Plan accordingly, leave early, drive the speed limit and arrive safely. But remember, if the forecast calls for dangerous driving conditions, the safest thing to do is postpone travel and stay off the roads.
If your car needs maintenance before your trip, remember to come see us at Free Service Tire. And have a happy Thanksgiving.