vHoliday travel can be stressful, but it should be fun, too. Advance planning and proper car care can take much of the stress out of a holiday road trip and leaving you free to enjoy the ride.
Checklists for each aspect of the trip will help ensure that nothing important is left behind, and that you are safe and prepared in case of an emergency.
When it's time for a holiday road trip, keep these tips in mind for smooth travels:
Check your ride: A complete car check before a road trip should include making sure the fluid levels are sufficient. Make sure wiper blades and the wiper mechanism itself is working properly. Check your lights, including brights, to be sure they are functional. And, last but not least, don't forget your tires. Tires are the connection between your car and the road, so be sure to examine the tread for signs of excess wear
Traction and tread are inextricably linked. The grooves in your tires are critical in helping to channel water away to allow the tire to grip the road,says Sarah Robinson, Michelin safety expert. Making sure you're driving on tires with proper tread can be the difference between avoiding an accident and becoming part of it.
Be prepared: Equip your car with an emergency kit, including water, flashlight, blanket, jumper cables, extra windshield wiper fluid, cell phone charger, and emergency phone numbers for roadside assistance, as well as a contact person at your destination.
Map your route: Check your route in advance and, if possible, plan your trip for times with less traffic. If you are planning to use a map feature on your phone, use the voice component; if you don't have that, consult a paper map and get a sense of the route before you get behind the wheel.
Safety first: That means the driver focuses on driving. If you are the driver and need to check your phone, send a message, have a snack, or, tend to a child or pet in the back seat, wait for a rest stop, or if necessary, pull over to the side of the road.
Watch the weather: Especially during winter holidays, knowing the weather in advance can help you plan to avoid a storm. If conditions are truly dangerous, the smart move is to postpone your trip until the weather improves.