While most people prefer the summer when it comes to taking a vacation, you can’t underestimate the holiday season. When it comes to road trips, the Thanksgiving/Christmas season is probably the busiest travel period of the year.
According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics, long-distance traveling – meaning 50 miles or more – increases by 54% during this season. Furthermore, during the Thanksgiving weekend, more than 90% of travelers use their personal vehicles to travel.
Being Prepared for the Winter Road
Although you should always drive as safely as possible, you have to make an extra effort during Thanksgiving. You see, this joyous holiday is actually the single most dangerous day of the year in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more car-related accidents on Thanksgiving Day than any other day in the year.
Seeing how so many people travel during the holiday season, and how the roads covered with snow and ice, you need to have a basic checklist that will help you stay safe during your trip. Without further ado, here are a couple of things you should do to ensure that you and your passengers are completely safe during this year’s holiday trip.
Top Winter Traveling Tips
1. Get a Good Night’s Sleep before Hitting the Road
This may sound like a cliché advice, because you should be well-rested before a trip all year round, you especially need eight hours of sleep during the winter. During this time of the year, even something small like change in light can have a big effect on the quality of your sleep, according to researchers from the Harvard Medical School.
Moreover, road conditions can change in a matter of minutes during this season, and snow requires you to drive extra carefully. So your focus and alertness may be the deciding factor in this situation and a few extra hours of sleep may play a big role. Also, you should try not to drive during the night, because lack of light will decrease your visibility and make maneuvering through the snow even harder.
2. Make Sure You Have the Right Tires
Some states require you to have winter tires, while others don’t. Nonetheless, winter tires are a great investment, especially if you’re one of those drivers who plan on covering more than 100 miles through various types of terrain. Road conditions vary from state to state, and just because your home state doesn’t require your vehicle to have them doesn’t mean you won’t need them along the way.
Also, a general checkup would be recommended. For instance, if you’re planning to go through some rough terrain, make sure to check your suspension springs as well. And if there’s any damage and you need to replace them, you should opt for a company like King Springs that uses high-quality to steel to design durable suspension springs.
3. Optimize Visibility as Much as Possible
There are more than 5.7 million car crashes every year in the United States, according to data from the US Department of Transportation. What’s more, over 22% of those crashes – around 1.3 million – are caused by weather conditions that affect the driver’s visibility. So before you set off, make sure to top with special winter washer fluid.
And if you’re weren’t aware of it – yes – there are different types of washer fluids for each season. Of course, winter washer fluid has lower freezing points than summer ones and will be able to clean your windshield no matter how low the temperature is. Also, make sure that your vehicle is equipped with winter wiper blades that are designed to clear the ice from your windshield.
Final Thoughts: Plan the Trip Carefully
Lastly, you have to prepare for any road clocks, closures and potential dangerous conditions before your departure. This will not only help you reduce the risk of accidents, but also reduce your travel time.
That’s why it would be a good idea to see the weather in the place of your departure and destination. Luckily you have a number of apps that will warn you about these things. Such as Waze that uses real time and P2P date to make sure you’re always up-to-date.
All in all, you should even pull of your driveway before checking your winter road trip checklist. This way, you’ll ensure that you and your passengers have a great, and more importantly, safe holiday trip.