No one wants to get stranded on the side of the road with a car filled with gifts and treats. It’s well worth the investment to have a mechanic give a vehicle a checkup prior to leaving. Get an oil change even if it’s a little early to do so. Look at tire tread wear and ensure that you have the right tires for the road conditions where you’ll be headed.
In an undated handout photo, the High Road PadPockets tablet holder and car seat organizer. The $30 accessory, which puts more of the seat back space to use, is one of a number of items that could shift a ho-hum holiday road trip into the next gear. (Handout via The New York Times)
Plan your route
People often rely on mobile phone or dashboard GPS systems to get where they need to go. However, it helps to have a general idea of the route so that if service drops out you can still find your way. Scout out rest stops or acceptable restaurants online prior to leaving so you have a plan for making stops in safe areas.
Stock the car
While presents may be taking up valuable real estate, pack a cooler with snacks and beverages to help reduce how many times you need to get off the highway. Also, games or other forms of entertainment can keep children occupied on long trips.
Slow down in inclement weather
The holiday meal can be reheated if you’re late, so don’t feel compelled to speed or drive erratically when the weather is stormy. It’s not worth the risk of getting into an accident that can cause serious injuries. Travelers United, a nonprofit organization that represents all travelers, also warns that quick storms that pop up after a long dry spell can immediately make road surfaces extremely slippery. Use caution. Planning and preparation are essential to getting home safely this holiday season.