Holidays are a major source of stress for many people. The hustle and bustle of the season extends to the traveling part of the holiday season as well. More people are on the road during the end of the year holiday season (Christmas and Thanksgiving) than during the rest of the year, according to all the major travel agencies. Here are some tips and ideas on keeping safe and level-headed during that mother of all rush hours.
A huge number of people are on the roads the day after Thanksgiving trying to get the bargains that often come with the holiday season. With the possibility of stress build up, incidents in traffic and on the roads increase.
Plan the travel ahead of time
Pick the destination and know the travel route. Call the local departments of transportation to see if there are any closures due to inclement weather or other obstacles that may impede your travels. Make alternate routes possible if necessary.
Prepare the car
This can include getting an oil change, a tune-up or other general maintenance procedure done to the car. Make sure the tires have been rotated as this can help reduce wear and tear. Think about getting new tires if you're worried any on your car are worn down, especially if a long road trip is in the plans. Tires should be properly filled with air. Properly filling your tires reduces friction and can improve gas mileage.
Make sure you fill up on gas before you leave
Get everything prepared the night before, if possible, to avoid stress when you leave home. Know your car. Know how much gas it will take and how far it will go before needing to be filled up again. You can plan when you will get gas. This can reduce stress if your car's gas light comes on.
Prepare an emergency kit
That kit should include a first aid kit. The first aid kit should have typical supplies such as bandages, antibiotic application, cotton swabs, gauze, medical tape, aspirin and other typical medicines. Keep a few flares in the car in case of an accident. Keep a spare tire and a jack in the car, too. Most cars come with a small spare tire, often called a donut. You could replace this with a normal sized tire for better functionality. Extra blankets, clothes and bottled water should be taken along as well if you are traveling in the wintertime, when ice and snow might be prevalent weather conditions.
Always tell at least one person when you plan to leave and your approximate arrival time. That way, if you have problems, someone might have a clue where you may be stranded.
Keep a cell phone handy
There are emergencies phones sometimes located on highways. Check with your local state transportation to see if these phones exist. If not, there are also emergency phones you can buy for your car for short-term use.
If you travel with children, make sure they know the rules.
They need to know how to use the phone or flag down someone if you are unavailable to do so.
Combat physical stress
Stop often on the trip, especially on longer road trips. At holidays, some rest stops have coffee available for free or at a reduced charge. Get out and stretch. Long road trips squeeze muscles and don’t allow them to breathe much.
Preparing for the holidays is the best weapon you have against the season’s stress factors. Have a great and fun holiday. But also have a safe one.