Holiday Driving Safety: Dealing With Traffic And Weather

Nov 24

The holiday driving season is almost upon us. Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of the busiest travel holidays of the year with families across the country spending plenty of time in the car either to visit other family members or to enjoy a short vacation with extended time off from work and school. Holiday driving can be stressful, however, as

Holiday driving tips for a safe travel season

Holiday Inn by Kevin Dooley on Flickr

A recent study by Business Insider of Google Maps found that the busiest travel times were between 3pm and 5pm in most cities on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. This period of holiday driving coincides with families leaving in order to get to their destinations in time for the holiday as well as people leaving work on the last day before a long holiday weekend.

The same study found that holiday driving was not only busy on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, but throughout the weekend as well. Since many people travel on Sunday after a few days off highways are found to be extremely busy as well. The Google Maps study found that the better travel day is often Saturday, as there can be 40% more traffic on Sundays during the long holiday driving weekend as opposed to Saturday.

Thanksgiving is not the only busy holiday driving season. Christmas also is also a major time for travel, and the AAA stated that 1 in 4 Americans will travel over 50 miles during the holiday driving between December 22 and January 1, which defines the year end travel season. Since this coincides with the official start of winter, weather delays are a factor. Weather can delay flights and they make for dangerous scenarios on the roadway with increased traffic.

All of these factors can be frustrating for drivers, but the combination of traffic and weather can be overcome. Here are some tips to make sure your trip is safe:

Make sure your vehicle is operating correctly – Holiday driving in traffic and weather can be stressful on cars. Make sure everything is running correctly so you don’t suffer a breakdown and are stranded in cold weather.

Plan your route in advance – Learn which routes can have traffic buildups and which routes have construction. Make sure that you have an alternate route.

Follow speed limits – Is severe weather develops speed becomes an even greater enemy. Heavy traffic will also force you to travel slower than normal.

Get a good night’s sleep – Make sure that you are well rested before holiday driving. More traffic means you will have to be more alert to developing situations around you.

Be prepared for emergencies – Make sure that you have a winter survival kit in your call when driving in colder weather. This can include jumper cables, blankets, and anything else you might think you would need if you suffer a breakdown.

The most important thing to remember is to relax. While holiday driving is stressful, the season is still about family. With these suggestions you can have a safe and relaxing holiday with your family.

Travis Miller

Travis has been blogging professionally since 2006 and has been working as a traffic safety advocate since 2012.

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