KEY FACTORS—Reduce speed & increase distance between vehicles.
Fill up. It may seem like a no-brainer, but fill up your gas tank before you leave and try to keep it no less than half full, just in case you get stuck in brutal traffic (or snow storms). With potential inclement weather, accidents, or construction, this can reduce stress and allows for options in an emergency. Further, it could prove vital to keeping you warm during an extended delay or allow for a long detour. (also increases rear wheel traction)
Winter Service Visit. Get vehicle checked out before a big trip. Look for signs of uneven or excessive tire tread wear and have them replaced if necessary. Consider changing to winter tires if you travel often on snow and ice. Check battery status—low charge, dead cell—big trouble.
Have an emergency kit. Bring water, flashlight with extra batteries, shovel, ice scraper, first-aid kit, and some nonperishable food items just in case. You may also want to pack warm clothing, blankets, and a sleeping bag if you have the space. Always have on-hand a car-operated cell-phone charger.
Know Where You Are Going. Whether you use print maps, a portable GPS, or a smart phone app, make sure you are familiar with the path you will take to your destination and have the tools to route around trouble. Stop in safe place to use these aids to avoid being distracted while driving.
Buckle up. It saves lives and sets a good example for younger passengers. This includes rear seat passengers.
Don’t over pack the car interior. Items that are not secure could be dangerous projectiles in a crash or sudden stop. Pack smartly, putting heavy items low and fastening cargo that could move forward in an impact.
Reduce driving during rush hour. To avoid heavy traffic, if possible, try to choose off-peak times to travel. This can save time, gas costs, and stress. Plus, your passengers will be happier when you reach your destination.
Stay rational Follow the traffic laws, don’t text, speed, and especially don’t drink and drive. Police are more vigilant during the holiday season, plus accidents are more frequent due to more drivers traveling on unfamiliar roads.
Don’t rely on caffeine or stimulants to keep you awake. If you are feeling tired, pull over at a rest stop and take a 15-30-minute nap. Or change drivers.
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