AAA projects 91.9 million Americans will travel during the year-end holidays. December is already bringing low temperatures and rain to Texas, which creates potentially hazardous situations for drivers who are not prepared.
Staying safe should be a top priority for all travelers so take a few precautions before hitting the road:
• Plan your route. Research areas where you will be driving and familiarize yourself with the landscape and weather conditions expected during that time.
• Take your car in for routine maintenance to make sure it is safe to drive for long stretches. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. If you plan to drive through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires or chains.
• Make hotel reservations ahead of time and plot out your stops. Having a guaranteed reservation will help save time.
• Avoid flying objects. Pack your car efficiently to avoid luggage becoming projectiles during a sudden stop. Store heavy items such as suitcases and strollers low in the seat. Anything else being stowed in an open cargo area should be strapped down.
• Don’t advertise your travels. Avoid leaving road maps in plain sight inside your parked car. Park your vehicle where you can see it from a restaurant or store. At night, take everything that is in plain view with you into your hotel room.
• Create an emergency contact list. Write down important numbers you might need during your trip or should anything go wrong, including family members, friends, towing companies and hotels.
• Create a vehicle safety kit. Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can prepare for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, a radio, a first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves.