You’ve finished handing out the last of your Halloween candy and the leaves are falling off the trees as the temperature begins to drop. The cold weather season means more than a few extra dollars on your heating bill: it’s time for the holidays.

The holidays are a joyous time of year, full of vacation days, family time and, of course, lots and lots of food. But along with all of those festive things comes something we tend to enjoy a little less – holiday traffic. In 2017, an estimated 50.9 million Americans hit the road for the Thanksgiving holiday, breaking a 12-year record. And this year, AAA predicts that more than 54 million Americans will travel, with nearly 90 percent traveling by car.

With so much traffic on the road, it’s important to be prepared for all possible emergency situations to ensure you and your family reach your destination safely.

We’ve put together a few basic holiday road trip tips for you to use when preparing for your travel this holiday season.

  1. Know your battery basics and have it checked out before hitting the road.

We often don’t think about our car battery until it’s too late. If you know you’re taking a road trip for the holidays, it’s best to do your due diligence and have it double checked by an expert beforehand. You should also be sure you have jumper cables in your emergency kit in the event the unexpected happens.

  1. Care for your wipers, especially in cold climates.

It’s important to have functioning windshield wipers on your vehicle as you plan for travel. When taking long trips, you may encounter rain, sleet or snow and need to have windshield wipers that can keep your vision clear in those already hazardous driving conditions.

  1. Don’t overlook leaks. Have a technician check it out while you get your oil changed prior your trip.

Leaks can signify a larger problem with your vehicle. It’s important to have any known leaks investigated before hitting the road to avoid major issues during your travel.

  1. Take care of your tires. Have the tread depth checked to ensure all tires are still in good range.

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – check your tires before taking off on a trip. Low tire tread increases your stop time and can lead to unwanted incidents.

  1. When mapping out your destination, make sure you are aware of any toll roads on your route.

You’ve got everything loaded in the car, start your route on your GPS anxious to arrive at your destination only to learn that your route has tolls you didn’t know about. Don’t get stuck digging in your console for loose change. Make sure you’re aware of any potential tolls you may hit – and maybe bring along some extra change just in case weather or traffic require an alteration of your route.

  1. Don’t forget to check the weather beforehand.

While weather can change in an instant, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on forecasts leading up to your trip. Be aware of any potential hazardous driving conditions you may encounter so that you aren’t caught off guard.

  1. Make sure you’re well rested before you leave.

Drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an incident if they are fatigued, so it’s important you don’t stay up all night doing last minute packing before your trip. If you feel yourself getting tired behind the wheel, pull over and rest for a bit or change drivers until you feel alert to drive again.

The holiday season is a festive and fun time of year. But don’t let the excitement of your destination distract you from the path to get there. It’s important to plan in advance and expect the unexpected to ensure a safe journey to celebrate with friends and family.

If you or your drivers have additional questions on driving in hazardous weather such as snow that they may encounter during holiday travel, check out our winter driving tips.

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