If you’re road-tripping this season, give yourself the gift of preparation with this holiday driving safety checklist
When all that stands between you and your holiday vacation is a long drive, it can be tempting to get on the road ASAP.
But a little preparation before you go can save you a lot of trouble.
The following holiday driving safety tips will set you up for a smooth, safe, and worry-free trip so you can enjoy your quality time with family and friends to the fullest.
Schedule a Pre-Trip Maintenance Checkup
If it’s been a while since you’ve had your car serviced, set up a maintenance check before you go. Whatever it needs to take on the upcoming road trip safely—full tires, topped-off fluids, healthy brakes—knock it all out in advance so you can hit the road with peace of mind.
Pack the Essentials
With icy roads and snowy weather, there’s always a risk you may need to hunker down in your car and stay warm until help arrives.
Use this holiday driving safety checklist to ensure you have everything you need in case of an emergency:
- Food and water
- Car charger or phone charger
- Portable phone charger (preferably two for extra battery life)
- Windshield scraper
- Heavy blankets
- Cold weather clothing (heavy jackets, gloves, compression socks, boots, etc.)
- Emergency kit (including first-aid supplies, flares, flashlights, batteries, a shovel, etc.)
- Wood planks or cat litter for traction if you get stuck in the snow
And of course, don’t forget to pack your presents! The last thing you want is to arrive at your destination and realize you’ve left your gifts at home.
Prepare for Snow & Icy Roads
Winter tires or chains are a crucial part of holiday driving safety. If you know you’ll be driving on slick or icy roads—especially up and down steep inclines—these tools will provide much more traction than standard tires alone. All-wheel drive gives you a leg up in the traction department as well, so if your car has that feature, you’re in good shape!
If you don’t have access to winter vehicle equipment, try to plan your route around any potentially dangerous roads.
Also, as a general precaution, check the weather before you head out. If the forecast is too risky to drive through, either wait it out or adjust your route to avoid the bad weather.
Practice Safe Driving Essentials
Safe driving best practices still apply during the holiday season—perhaps even more so due to weather conditions.
So make sure to brush up on the tips below before you start your journey:
- Buckle up at all times while driving.
- Stay focused, not distracted (keep your eyes on the road as often as possible, avoid reaching for things in the backseat or floor areas, etc.).
- Don’t text and drive.
- Minimize phone use (a phone mount can reduce distracted driving by providing easy access if someone calls you or you need to follow GPS).
- Don’t drive while under the influence.
- Respect larger vehicles like semi-trucks, RVs, and any cars pulling trailers (always keep a safe distance from them as they take longer to slow down, make turns, etc.
- Follow the speed limit (especially around corners and on icy roads).
- Pull over and rest if you feel yourself getting tired. Don’t try to push through it.
Fatigue can get the best of even the most seasoned road tripper, and it should be taken seriously.
The good news is that you can start preparing for the fight against fatigue before you even leave the house by getting a good night’s sleep the night before. When you’re well-rested and your energy battery is at 100%, you can focus better, drive safer, and make better time.
Also, give yourself plenty of time to make the trip so you can take as many breaks as you need. When you’re racing against the clock, you may be less inclined to stop and give yourself the rest you need to drive safely.
To keep your energy up, make sure to stay well-fed and hydrated along the way, and roll the windows down every so often to get a burst of fresh air. Limiting nighttime driving can help with this as well.
Of course, the best way to fight fatigue is to switch off with a road trip buddy and get some shut-eye. So, if you can, partner up for your drive!
Send Help to Your Current Location With Rescu
When gearing up for a long road trip, especially during the holiday season when roads can be snowy or icy, you need an emergency plan.
Winter driving emergencies often involve losing traction on icy roads, getting stuck in snow, and being stranded on the side of the road. In these circumstances, most people would call 911…
But they’d soon face the challenge of describing where they are to the dispatcher. And while you may know what road you’re on or even what exit you’re closest to, that still leaves responders without your exact location.
But with the Rescu app, you can dispatch emergency help to your current location with just two taps on your smartphone—no talking required.
The app uses state-of-the-art GPS technology to determine exactly where you are and instantly sends this information to your dispatcher and first response team. It also automatically notifies all your pre-registered emergency contacts via text, letting them know you’ve had an emergency and including a link to your location in the maps app.
In a roadside emergency, Rescu’s rapid transmission of accurate information can save you precious time. Time that would otherwise be spent on the phone with a dispatcher and waiting for responders to find you.
Don’t leave it up to chance. Get fast, accurate emergency response with just two taps with Rescu.
Click here to learn more about the app, and visit the Apple Store or Google Play to download today.