Will you be traveling for Christmas? Or will you be waiting for loved ones coming home to you for Christmas? Either way, it’s important that we all remember to be safe while traveling.
BBB, with information obtained from several sources, recommends taking the following steps for safe driving this holiday season:
Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel: Check your wipers and fluids. Have your radiator and cooling system serviced. Simple maintenance can prevent many of the problems that strand motorists on the side of the road before you leave your home.
Plan ahead: Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and watch the signs as you near the off-ramp. Drivers making unexpected lane changes to exit often cause accidents.
Do not cut in front of large trucks: Remember that trucks are heavier and take longer to make a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.
Check your emergency kit: Contents should include: battery-powered radio, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, fire extinguisher, first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable foods, maps, tire repair kit and flares.
Be aware of changes in weather: Weather conditions across the U.S. will be changing – especially during early mornings and evenings with the cold. Watch for ice, snow and other weather-related obstacles.
Keep your eyes on the road: Distracted driving is a major cause of traffic accidents. Even just two seconds of distraction time doubles the chances of an accident. Use your cell phone when stopped and never text while driving.
Leave early and avoid risks: Leave early so you won’t be anxious about arriving late and to accommodate delays. Road conditions may change due to inclement weather or traffic congestion.
Be aware of truck blind spots: When sharing the road with large trucks, be aware of their blind spots. If you can’t see the truck driver in his or her mirrors, then the truck driver can’t see you.
Slow down: With the extra highway congestion due to holiday travel, speeding becomes even more dangerous. Allow plenty of space cushion and reduce your speed.
Buckle up: Safety belts reduce the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent and are a simple way to increase your safety on the road.
Take breaks every 2-3 hours (or less): If you're traveling alone or with family, make sure you make periodic stops along the way to stay alert and stretch. Christmas holiday season means busy roads and distractions. Taking a break from driving every so often will help you manage your stress and that of your passengers.
Keep your cell phone charged and handy: Whenever you travel, especially during the busy Christmas holiday season, make sure your cell phone is charged and ready to go for your trip. If driving, make sure you check in during stops along the way with friends and loved ones at your destination. Of course, don't use your cell phone while driving during your Christmas holiday road trip. According to the National Safety Council, more than 270 million people have cell phones in the United States today. Talking on the cell phone while driving increases your crash risk fourfold.
Don't advertise your trip or valuables: Please don’t post on Facebook or any other social media sites where you’re going and when! You will make yourself and your valuables a target for criminals.
Keep map, GPS and directions handy: No need to get lost in transit this Christmas holiday travel season. Make sure you map out your trip in advance of departure, and keep this material close by during the drive. It's also helpful to think about alternative routes if you expect to hit traffic or construction delays.
Take BBB with you: When you’re away from home or in the midst of an emergency, it’s hard to know which businesses—such as tow trucks and locksmiths—you can trust. The good news is you can now rely on BBB’s mobilized website or the BBB iPhone App. for finding businesses you can trust when you’re away from your computer.
Have a safe and Merry Christmas!