Autotrader offers helpful tips for the 2016 holiday driving season

With the busy holiday road trip season now upon us, one of the biggest mistakes families can make is waiting until the last minute to make sure your car is in road-ready condition. Photo by Metro Creative Graphics
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With the busy holiday road trip season now upon us, one of the biggest mistakes families can make is waiting until the last minute to make sure your car is in road-ready condition. Photo by Metro Creative Graphics

With the holiday season here, the editors from Autotrader have published a list of Long Holiday Driving Tips to keep road warriors comfortable and content on their drives.

According to a recent Autotrader poll, many holiday travelers are planning to drive to visit family and friends this holiday season and expect to be on the road for about two hours on average. Additionally, the poll showed that nearly a quarter – 22 percent – will travel almost 100 miles in their cars.

“The key to safe travel is to prepare early,” said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. “With the busy holiday road trip season now upon us, one of the biggest mistakes families can make is waiting until the last minute to make sure your car is in road-ready condition.”

Autotrader offers helpful holiday road trip tips:

Prepare your vehicle ahead of time:

  • Ready your vehicle by making sure it is in good shape. Double-check your tire pressure, oil and coolant, and be sure to give it a wash. Riding in a clean car is always a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
  • Pre-set your navigation before your departure – think of it as one less thing to worry about when you're trying to load up the car and hit the road.
  • If your car is equipped with any drivers assistance systems (Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert), make sure they're all turned on to help you have a safe journey.

Be ready for ‘just in case’ scenarios:

  • Check the weather forecast – you don't want to be caught off guard by a winter storm, excessive rain or road closures in the middle of your road trip. (The Federal Highway Administration's website is a great resource – www.fhwa.dot.gov/trafficinfo/index.htm).
  • If you live in (or are traveling to) colder climates, don't be caught off-guard by the potential for snow or ice. Equip your vehicle with items like blankets, booster cables, flares, a flashlight, hand warmers and a window scraper.
  • Make sure you have some snacks on hand in case traffic is much worse than you thought. In fact, every car should have some kind of emergency kit that includes a little portable, non-perishable food. Also remember to have plenty of any necessary medication with you, and get prescriptions refilled prior to leaving rather than planning to do it once you arrive.
  • Always keep an extra phone charger in your car. You'll be glad you did, especially in the event of an emergency.

Make good choices:

  • The no-brainers: Make sure that everyone in the car is properly wearing seatbelts, even if you are in a larger vehicle such as a van or an RV. Watch your speed, remembering it is not worth trying to cut travel time by driving too fast when roadways are packed with holiday traffic. And of course, don't ever drink and drive, no matter what.
  • The lesser-knowns: We know it may be impossible to pass up seconds on grandma's sweet potato soufflé, but try not to overeat. Eating too much can make you tired for the drive back home. Take regular breaks, stopping at least once every two hours, and more often at night to help reduce fatigue and tunnel vision.
  • Use technology wisely: Don't 'talk and drive' on your mobile unless you're doing it hands-free or while pulled over safely off the highway, and never text and drive. Supply the kids with distractions so they don't distract you. If you a have a rear entertainment system, put on a movie, or better yet, teach them some 'old school' road trip games like the license plate game or the billboard game. If all else fails, you can always arm them with their devices (with headphones), to keep the peace for all passengers.

For more information about Autotrader’s Long Holiday Travel Tips, visit www.autotrader.com/car-news/long-holiday-driving-tips-26671.