Holiday Travel Tips
Mary Ann Contreras, RN
JPS Health Network trauma services/injury prevention coordinator
This December, families will pile into cars that are packed full of gifts and treats to celebrate the holidays with friends and loved ones. And before you head over the river and through the woods, here are a few tips to help make sure your trip goes smoothly and everyone arrives safely.
Before you go:
- Turn the home thermostat to 60 degrees and disconnect anything electrical that doesn’t need to be plugged in. Set your lights on a timer so that your home appears to be occupied.
- Let a neighbor know you will be out of town so they can keep an eye on the house. Give them your contact information if they need to reach you in an emergency.
- Put mail and newspaper deliveries on a temporary hold.
- Check your vehicle’s tires, change the oil and map out the route to your destination.
On the way:
- When traveling in wintery weather, have an itinerary and share it with others. Keep blankets and other provisions in the car. Stay on main streets and highways.
- Winter driving tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Drive slowly, keep the gas tank close to full and increase your following distance so you’ll have enough time to stop around vehicles ahead of you. More tips are on their website: http://www.safercar.gov/WinterDrivingTips
- Buckle up. Use seat belts for every trip and in every seat.
- Leave early so you don’t feel rushed. Take breaks from driving every two to three hours to help stay alert. Periodically change drivers to help manage the stress of a long road trip.
- Keep your car cell phone charger handy, but avoid talking on cell phones while driving since distracted driving dramatically increases your risk for a crash.
- Keep your vehicle doors and windows locked. If you are approached at a rest stop or on the side of the road, keep your car locked up. Keep valuables out of sight, especially when stopping for the night.