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5 tips for safe holiday road trips

Photo of Harlan Thompson

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it's almost time to load up the car and hit the road to visit loved ones. But how can you avoid ending up stranded in the snow or, even worse, seriously injured? Review the tips below and take some easy steps to ensure your holiday travels are safe, healthy and happy.

  • Keep your car running at its best... -- We've all done it. Sometimes life gets hectic or bills pile up and you find yourself putting off that oil change for longer than you should. However, keeping up with maintenance is important, especially when you have a big trip planned. If your car has issues that you can't fix in time, consider a rental.

  • ... but prepare for the worst - No matter how careful you are, the unexpected can happen at any time. Make sure you're prepared by stocking your car with emergency essentials like flashlights, blankets, a gallon of water and jumper cables. Have contact information handy for roadside assistance through AAA or your car insurer in case you end up needing it.
  • Top off your tank - Nothing kills the holiday spirit like being stranded in a freezing car after running out of gas. Traffic, weather conditions and road closures can make it difficult to fuel up whenever you want. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. In a worst-case scenario, that fuel can be a source of heat.
  • Put your phone away (but have it handy!) - Similarly, it's important to keep your phone charged in event of an emergency. Make sure you have a car charger, or pick up one of those portable battery packs that seem to be everywhere since the rise of Pokemon Go. You want your phone to be there in case you need it - NOT to be a distraction while you're focusing on the road.
  • Just be careful - According to travel industry experts, you should decrease your speed by about 30 percent in icy and snowy conditions. Stay at least two seconds behind the car in front of you, and watch the horizon of the road so you're ready for any hazards or slowdowns.

We hope all of our neighbors have a very safe and happy holiday season, whether traveling near or far!

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