The holidays are a time when families come together from all over the country, often by road trip. In fact, this year it's safer to travel by road trip than it is to brave crowded airports and travel depots.
Millions will be braving the winter roads in a traditional trek to see loved ones. Now is the time to plan ahead for safe holiday travel, whether you are crossing a few blocks or a few states to visit grandparents, aunts, and cousins this year.
Even for professional drivers and fleets, safe holiday travel is important to prepare for, especially with virus safety to consider for the whole family. Make sure you are ready to travel the distance in a winter-safe way to ensure you reach your loved ones whole, hearty, and in good cheer.
Make Sure Your Vehicle is Winter-Ready
First and most importantly, winterize your vehicle. If you haven't yet, switch to your winter tires and toss a spare set of jumper cables and tire chains into the trunk. Then think about just how much cold your vehicle will be dealing with, especially if you are driving north or to a higher elevation.
Switch to winter-weight wiper fluid that is alcohol-based so it won't freeze on your windshield. You may also need to swap for winter-weight oil as well. Before departure day arrives, have your battery tested and your car generally inspected to ensure the safety of yourself and passenger family members.
Plan for Isolated Stops and Private Lodgings
Plan your trip ahead of time. With the coronavirus still lingering around, casual stops at busy gas stations are not a great fallback strategy anymore. Instead, choose a sequence of stops that allow you to get gas in smaller towns and take your picnic lunches in open rest areas with plenty of room to distance from other families who may be traveling along the same route.
Likewise, plan your hotel or Airbnb stops ahead of time, calculating where you will be each sunset. This will help you remember to stop when you need rest and before the roads become dark and icy.
Know Your Icy Road and Weather Risks
Depending on your region, your destination, and the stretch of road in between; you will want to prepare for the weather and potential road hazards. Be aware of the risk of black ice on the road, the invisible hazard that can send your car spinning with very little visual warning. Know where to expect snow, and make plans in case the weather causes you to pull over before your next stop.
Pack Your Car's Winter Emergency Kit
No matter how carefully you prepare and then drive, there is still a chance of waiting for a tow truck on the side of the road. If this happens, you'll want your car packed with a winter emergency kit.
So before you depart, put together a kit with flares, blankets, spare water, a backup battery for your phone, road reflectors, chemical heat packs, and protein or granola bars, just to get started. You may also benefit from a tire patch kit and air pump, just in case.
Have Each Person Pack a Warm Travel Bag and Extra Masks
Every person in your car will, naturally, pack their own overnight bag of essentials for the trip. Make sure everyone not only packs a couple of days of clothes and their toothbrush. Advise each family member to also pack a few extra sweaters and a stack of comfortable clean masks for when you need to make stops along the way.
Watch Out for Seasonal Foot Traffic In Towns
Last but not least, watch out for holiday season traffic, and we don't just mean on the road. Any time you are driving through a town, watch out for merrymaking holiday shoppers. While online shopping may have increased significantly, many people are still heading for the shops for some last-minute deal shopping. Not to mention thousands seeking their away-from-home workout with jogging and walking around local streets.
Drive carefully and give yourself plenty of time to brake near crosswalks in the event that you share the road with holiday pedestrians.
Even professional drivers need to take precautions for holiday season travel. With these tips, you can drive safely with the whole family. Contact us today for helpful fleet management and driver tips.