Over the river and through the woods... It's not so simple to get to grandma's house these days. With the holiday season well underway, now is the time to prepare for roadtrips to visit loved ones, long or short. Follow these road safety tips to make this holiday season one to remember for all the right reasons.
- Walk around the car and make sure all lights work - the headlights (high and low beam), brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and even interior lights.
- Ensure the windshield washer reservoir is full - If the temperatures will be freezing during your journey, use a better quality “winter” wiper fluid with de-icer in it.
- Ensure windshield wipers are operational and work smoothly and replace worn wiper blades.
- Check the front and rear window defrosters are operating.
- Even if you check your tires monthly, check them again before your trip. Use a penny to check the tire tread depth. When inserting an upside-down penny into the tread, the raised tread should cover the top of Lincoln’s head. If not, the tread may be too worn and the mechanic and/or the tire shop should take a look at your tires. Don’t forget to check the spare tire.
- When the temperature outside drops, so does the air pressure in your tires. Ensure each tire is inflated to the pressure listed on your vehicle’s door-frame, NOT the air pressure listed on the tire itself. Check the pressure when the tires are “cold,” and not after they have been driven on for a while.
- Double check that you have emergency items and other necessities, such as: an ice scraper, small snow shovel, blankets, sand or kitty litter, jumper cables, flashlight with spare batteries, water and food, first aid kit. This may seem obvious, but also bring the vehicle's owner manual.
- Allow plenty of time to reach your destination. Rushing or attempting to keep a tight schedule on a long trip is a common factor in unfortunate incidents.
- Insist everyone wears a seatbelt and the little ones are buckled up in a car seat or booster seat.
- Avoid distracted driving, including: talking on the phone, texting, eating, fiddling with the GPS, or checking your phone.
- Drive the speed limit, but be mindful of icy or otherwise unpleasant weather conditions.
- Always drive sober. If you consume an adult beverage, hand the keys over to a driver who was not drinking or find another ride home, such as a taxi or ride sharing service.
The holidays are a special time of year, filled with memorable evenings and quality time. It is important to remember the roads are more congested than usual with many others also visiting their family members. Being mindful and patient of others, as well as taking all the necessary safety precautions will make this festive season a happy and safe one.