Irving, Texas – November 18, 2013 – 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. To help drivers arrive at their final destinations safe and sound, the National Motor Club (NMC), a leading provider of emergency roadside assistance and other safety, security and savings benefits, offers the following holiday travel tips:
- Maintain your vehicle – Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained by checking the fluid levels, tire pressure and tread, and other key parts and functions. Have your mechanic check for any major issues and perform the recommended maintenance services based on your vehicle mileage.
- Become familiar with your route – Before you hit the road, be sure to map out your main route and identify resting and eating stops. You should also become familiar with alternate routes in case construction or inclement weather conditions make it necessary for you to take a detour.
- Add a low-tech map to your high-tech navigation – Smartphone navigators and GPS systems are great tools for directing you to your final destination, but you should also carry a paper map in case you lose your cell phone signal or the ability to recharge electrical equipment. Highlighting your route on the paper map, and your alternate routes in a different color, will make it easier for you to stay on course.
- Keep valuables out of sight – If you are traveling with valuables, be sure to keep them out of sight at all times. You can lock them away in the trunk, glove compartment or center console, or store them under the seat or any other place where they are not visible.
- Don’t be a distracted driver – Save the phone calls and texting until you stop for a break or reach your final destination. If you must make a phone call or send a text, pull over to the side of the road. And, avoid eating while driving. It may 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.
- Fasten your seat belt – Wearing a seat belt while driving is not only a safety measure, it’s the law. Although it can become uncomfortable for children to wear them for long periods of time, seat belts save lives. Instead of allowing children to remove their seat belts during the trip, schedule additional roadside breaks to give them some freedom to move around.
- Keep a winter road emergency kit in the car – Anything can happen on the road, and having a winter road kit ensures your safety if you should have maintenance problems or become stranded along the way. Stock the kit with booster 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 cautiously – During the holiday season, it is especially important to be cautious of hazardous road conditions. Keep an eye out for wet or icy roads, take your time and slow down on the curves. Most importantly, be patient. Additional cars on the highway may result in traffic backups and angry drivers. You can avoid a collision or a road rage incident by keeping your cool.
- Be aware of your surroundings – As you proceed along your way, be sure to monitor weather reports and listen to the local news for the latest traffic and road conditions.
- Have a roadside assistance plan – At National Motor Club, we think this one almost goes without saying. Whoever you use for your roadside assistance provider, whether it’s us or another company, 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.
“Each year, millions of drivers hit the roads to spend the holidays with families and friends, and we want them to be prepared for the additional road hazards associated with increased holiday traffic and seasonal weather conditions,” said Matt Krzysiak, CEO of National Motor Club. “Whether they are traveling cross-country or just an hour away, these tips will help any driver remain safe during their journey.”
View the Holiday Safety Tips Infographic