Irving, Texas – September 11, 2014 - The hustle and bustle of crowds during the holiday season is not limited to the shopping experience - it's also a time when drivers are presented with crowded highways and additional road hazards. Since 2009, NSC statistics have shown an increase in the total number of fatalities and injuries due to traffic-related causes during the holiday period. Because of this, National Motor Club (NMC) - one of the nation's largest independent motor clubs - is offering the following holiday travel tips to help drivers arrive at their final destinations safe and sound:
- Perform a pre-travel maintenance check - Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained before hitting the road by checking the fluid levels, tire pressure and tread, and other key parts and functions. Have your mechanic perform the recommended maintenance services based on your vehicle mileage and check for any major issues. Before moving your car, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights and backup camera for complete visibility and to make sure everything is working properly.
- Plan your route ahead of time - Be familiar with directions along your main route, as well as alternate routes in the case of emergency, identifying resting and eating stops along the way. Allow plenty of time to arrive at your destination safely, and be sure to let others know your route and anticipated arrival time.
- Have a hard copy navigation guide on hand - Highlighting your route on a paper map, and your alternate routes in a different color, will make it easy to stay on course if your GPS system fails or your phone cannot find a signal.
- Keep valuable belongings hidden and safely secured - When traveling with important items or valuables, be sure to keep them out of sight by locking them away in the trunk, glove compartment or center console, or somewhere else out of sight.
- Avoid distractions while driving - Make time to stop for breaks along the way to follow-up on missed texts, emails and calls, or simply wait until you reach your final destination. It may also be tempting to shave a few minutes from your trip by grabbing a bite from the drive-thru, but you'll be safer and more rested if you simply stop and take a brief meal break.
- Wear a seat belt at all times - Make sure everyone is buckled up before hitting the road and after breaks and rest stops. Although it can become uncomfortable for children to wear them for long periods of time, seat belts save lives and are also required under the law. Schedule additional roadside breaks to give children some freedom to move around instead of removing their seat belts during the trip.
- Have a winter road emergency kit in the car - Having a winter road kit ensures your safety should you have maintenance problems or become stranded along the way. Stock it with jumper cables, chains or a tow strap, a small shovel, sand or cat litter, a first aid kit, a flashlight and fresh batteries, an extra pair of socks and gloves, a blanket, snacks and water, an ice scraper, and flares and matches.
- Drive with caution, being mindful of your surroundings - During the holiday season, it is especially important to be cautious of hazardous road conditions. Keep an eye out for wet or icy roads, and always take your time and slow down on the curves. Monitoring weather reports and listening to the local news for the latest traffic and road conditions can prepare you for unplanned and unforeseen hiccups along the way.
- Have a roadside assistance plan - Managing a breakdown, like changing a flat tire in the snow, is dangerous enough on its own, much less on a busy highway. Taking extra precautions in such instances is a must, for safety's sake. National Motor Club urges you to have a roadside assistance provider ready to call, to help ensure your safety this holiday season. Make sure you have your provider's toll-free number in your wallet, purse, glove compartment and/or cell phone. If you do not have a roadside assistance plan, join NMC today or contact your local NMC Independent Benefits Consultant!
"This year, as millions of drivers prepare to visit family and friends during the holiday season, we want them to plan ahead before they hit the road," said Matt Krzysiak, CEO of National Motor Club. "Being aware of additional road hazards associated with increased holiday traffic and seasonal weather conditions, whether it's a cross-country journey or just an hour away, will help any driver remain safe during their journey."
Download the infographic