Driving Tips for Holiday Travel

Portrait of parents and son (8-9) standingHere in the U.S. there are a handful of holidays that seem to get the entire country onto the interstate. Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter are among the most notable. With so many drivers hitting the roads and many of those drivers travelling considerable distances, it’s worth taking a moment to do some pre-trip planning to spare yourself the headache that inevitably comes with being behind the wheel for hours at a time. The driving pros here at compare.com have come up with a list of our best driving tips for holiday travel to help get you there and back again in one piece (physically and mentally).

Tips for Safe Holiday Travel

Here are some pointers that will help ensure your safety and maybe save you some extra money during your holiday travel.

  • Check Your Tires: Before you leave, check the pressure in all of your vehicle’s tires. Properly inflated tires mean your vehicle will handle better and you’ll even get better gas mileage!
  • Make Sure Your Car Is Ready: Take your car to be serviced prior to any lengthy road trip. This will help ensure that you aren’t surprised by any car troubles that might otherwise have been preventable. The last thing anyone wants is to be stranded on the side of a highway.
  • Double Check Your Support Options: Some people have towing or roadside assistance coverage included on their car insurance policy, credit card, or through a service such as AAA. Double check the details of these travel support services before you leave so you know what is covered and what isn’t under your specific plan. With roadside assistance, be sure to know what can be done for you on the roadside and how much additional services cost.
  • Check the Weather: Know what the weather will be before you leave and if you expect to be driving in bad weather, plan alternate routes. Know where you can get off and on the interstate or highway, too.

Tips for Making the Trip Go Smoothly

It’s hard to be in such a confined space for long periods of time and the more people you have with you, the tougher it can be — especially if you have kids. We put together a list of tips for taking care yourself, your passengers, and everyone’s collective mental health.

  • Bring Snacks: People get cranky when they’re hungry. Kids especially so. Save your sanity by packing a variety of snacks to have on hand for your trip. Just be sure to avoid snacks high in sugar if you are travelling with kids. For younger kids, check out this creative solution.
  • Have Rest Stops: Having grown up in a family where dad refused to stop along the way on family trips, I understand the frustration of being confined in a small space with no hope of getting out any time soon. It does everyone a lot of good to step out of the car, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Stretching your limbs once in a while helps cure the restlessness of confinement in a car. Think about the length of your trip and divide it up into more tolerable stretches – whether that’s 2 or 3 hour increments will depend on your passengers.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of driving games: License plate bingo, word games, 20 questions, whatever it takes… engaging the minds of your passengers (particularly the younger ones) helps to detract from the boredom of lengthy car rides.

Above All, Be Safe

Driving in holiday traffic can be frustrating. Hopefully these tips help ease the pain, at least a little. Also keep in mind that your mood affects your driving and that your driving affects others. Follow the rules of the road and be as courteous as possible. Finally, don’t forget to buckle up! Here’s hoping you all have a safe holiday trip.

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