Summer is over and fall is in full swing, which means that the holiday travel season is right around the corner. For many families, Thanksgiving is the first major travel occasion of the fall, as drivers hit the road to reunite with friends and family. In fact, it is usually the most-traveled holiday for American travelers. Whether you’re going across the country or around the corner, staying for a week or just dropping in for supper, all travelers need to keep basic safety in mind to avoid accidents that can be costly—and even deadly.
Here are some tips to make sure you and your family get there—and back—safely and happily.
Get your vehicle checked. Especially if you’re going to be traveling a long distance, you want to make sure your car is ready for the trip. Have your mechanic check your auto’s antifreeze levels, exhaust system, fuel and air filters, brakes, lights, and wipers. If you’re traveling in cold weather, make sure you have a good set of winter tires.
Make your emergency kit. You may rarely need these items, but you’ll be glad you have them when you do. Include jumper cables, a basic toolkit, flashlights (with extra batteries), flares, a battery-powered radio, maps, a fire extinguisher, an ice scraper, a shovel, a tire-repair kit, blankets, non-perishable food, water, a first-aid kit, and a charged cell phone. Tip: You can use any old phone—even one without current cell service—to make 911 emergency calls.
Keep your tank above half-full. One danger in driving in cold weather comes from condensation—it can build up in your gas tank, which may lead to frozen fuel lines. The more full your tank is, the less chance for condensation.
Plan ahead. Before you load up the family and start the engine, take some time to plan your route. Before you get on a highway, know your exit by name and number, and make sure you know when it’s coming—watch the signs as you get closer to your off-ramp. Don’t get yourself into a situation where you have to make last-minute lane changes, which is a common cause of highway accidents. The more you know your route ahead of time, the less chance you’ll have to make a hasty and distracting search for directions while you’re behind the wheel.
Beware the weather. Weather conditions can change in seconds, and winter weather can be especially hazardous to drivers. Check the forecast before you go, so you know what you’re about to drive into. Stay alert once you’re on the road and be prepared for driving in rough weather if it comes.
Don’t be a hero. Don’t push yourself behind the wheel. Driving while tired is a major cause of road accidents. Remember that as far as your family is concerned, getting there alive is much more important than getting there on time. If you’re getting road-weary, stop for a while in a safe place to rest or to switch drivers.
For most families, holiday travel goes safely and happily and ends in creating lasting positive memories. But if things should go wrong on your trip, and you’re the victim of a driver who may not have been following these safety tips, an experienced Texas personal injury lawyer can help. Contact the Evans Law Firm for a free case consultation.