Lifestyle, Safe Driving

Holiday travel safety

Woman driving with gifts in passenger side

Holiday plans made … check. Gifts wrapped … check. Holiday road safety tips … need!

The holiday season is underway and during this joyous time, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Whether you’re headed to Disney World or grandma's house, follow these road trip safety tips.

Before you leave

  • Create a safety kit for your vehicle. Include items like extra food and water, clothing, a flashlight, blankets, a First-Aid kit and medications.
  • Vehicle maintenance. Check your tires to make sure they’re properly inflated and have plenty of tread. Get a tune-up by a qualified mechanic to make sure there are no issues. Also, keep your vehicle fuel tank at least half full in case of an emergency.
  • Inclement weather. When planning for your trip, check the weather forecast along the route to your destination. If bad weather is expected, delay or adjust your travel plans. During your trip, monitor the weather for changes.
  • Notify others. Let others know the route you plan to take to your destination and your estimated arrival time. Touch base with them along the way if you experience any travel issues.

On the road

  • Follow the rules of the road. Be courteous to other drivers and don’t get into a hurry. During the holiday season, roads can become congested. Try to relax if you are stuck in traffic. Turn on some music or play a road trip game with your passengers to pass the time.
  • Drive according to the road conditions and don’t follow too closely. Increase your following distance to account for slick roads. If you’re traveling through or to an area with snow or ice, drive slowly to account for lower traction and increase your following distance. Use your windshield wipers and/or headlights in poor visibility situations.
  • Break up the trip. Every two hours, switch drivers or take a quick pit stop. If you are too tired, stop for the day and rest.
  • Ignore the phone. Texts and phone calls divert your attention away from the road. Focus on the road by silencing your cell phone before getting into the car. If you must take a phone call, pull over on the side of the road. Learn more about distracted driving here.

If you get stuck

  • Stay with your vehicle. Don’t leave your vehicle if you get stuck. Emergency responders have a better chance of locating you with your vehicle than if you leave it and travel on foot to a different location.
  • Signal your presence. It’s important to be seen if you have an issue on the road. Use your hazard lights to signal distress. You can also tie something reflective or bright to your vehicle’s antenna, mirrors or driver’s side window. At night, the dome light can be left on for better visibility.
  • Clear the exhaust pipe of any blockage. If stuck during cold conditions, you can turn your car on temporarily to let the cold out and warm you up. However, it is important that your exhaust pipe is clear before turning the car on. Exhaust pipes that are blocked can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the vehicle.

Following these guidelines will help you safely enjoy wherever the road takes you.

Winter weather driving tips. NHTSA. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from
Winter driving tips. AAA Exchange. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from
Highway safety. American Red Cross. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2021, from