Guide to Safe Holiday Road Trips

The holidays often mean hitting the road for many families. Whether you’re visiting loved ones or embarking on a festive vacation, road trips can be both exhilarating and stressful. With the responsibility of ensuring everyone remains safe, comfortable, and entertained—especially if you have kids—it becomes even more crucial to plan ahead.

Ensure your holiday road trip is safe and enjoyable with helpful tips for prepping for safety, packing the right snacks and games, and staying informed about possible weather issues during your journey.

Necessary Maintenance: Prepping Your Car for Safety

Before you hit the open road, ensure your vehicle is ready to handle the journey. Doing this thorough check can give you peace of mind, knowing your car is prepped and ready for the trip ahead.

  • Tire inspection and rotation. Check the tire pressure of all tires, including the spare, ensuring they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended levels. Inspect for any uneven wear, bulges, or cuts. Rotate your tires if necessary to ensure even wear, and consider replacing them if the tread depth is below the recommended limit.
  • Brakes check. Ensure that your brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid are all in good condition. Listen for any unusual noises when applying brakes. It might be time for a brake service or replacement if you feel vibrations or hear squealing.
  • Fluids top-up. Check and refill essential fluids, including engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Consider a full oil change for long trips, especially if you’re nearing the recommended mileage for one.
  • Battery test. Ensure your car’s battery is fully charged and free from corrosion. If the battery is over three years old, test its charge capacity or replace it to avoid being stranded.
  • Lighting and signal inspection. Verify that all lights – including headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and emergency flashers – are working correctly. Replace any burnt-out bulbs and consider carrying a few spares. Properly functioning lights are crucial for night driving and bad weather conditions.
  • Emergency kit preparation. Always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially for long trips. This kit should include jumper cables, flares, a flashlight, basic tools, water, non-perishable snacks, and a first-aid kit.

Making the Journey Convenient and Comfortable

Setting out on a holiday road trip or long drive is always thrilling. However, preparation is vital to ensure the drive is as comfortable and safe as possible. Some essential tips to consider before you head out:

  • Plan stops. Schedule regular breaks to stay alert. Choose spots for refueling, stretching, and recharging. For families, these breaks can also be a chance to play or explore a quick sight.
  • Comfortable seating. Adjust seats for optimal lumbar support and legroom before leaving. Consider neck pillows or seat cushions for added comfort. When traveling with kids, ensure their seats are properly set up and comfortable for resting.
  • Pack snacks. Pack a combination of healthy snacks and treats. Include items like trail mix, fruit, granola bars, and candies. For kids, use pre-portioned bags to manage portions. Balance hydration with water and other flavorful beverages.

Keeping Kids Entertained

Ensuring kids remain entertained on a long drive can make the journey smoother for everyone. Some activities to keep the kids entertained and happy during the trip include:

  • Digital entertainment: Gadgets like iPads and Kindle Fire tablets can be lifesavers on the road. Equip each child with their own device, preloaded with favorites like Moana or Toy Story, along with apps such as Endless Alphabet or Toca Kitchen. Interactive e-books or learning apps like Epic! can turn travel time into a fun, educational experience.
  • Classic road games: Road trips are the perfect opportunity to revive classic road trip games that generations of families have enjoyed. Games like “I Spy,”  the license plate game, and 20 questions can be a lot of fun and encourage participation from everyone in the car. These games not only keep kids entertained but also promote family bonding.
  • Audiobooks and music: Long drives can become monotonous. Prepare a playlist of favorite songs and download audiobooks or podcasts to keep the drive interesting. For instance, you can dive into the festive world of the Christmas Past podcast or immerse in the magical storytelling of the audiobook A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig.

Staying Updated on the Weather

Staying informed about the weather is essential for a safe journey. Before and during your trip, regularly check reliable weather apps or websites to ensure you’re prepared for the conditions ahead.

  • Weather apps. Download apps like AccuWeather or The Weather Channel to your smartphone. These offer hourly and extended forecasts, as well as severe weather alerts.
  • Radio updates. Keep your car radio tuned to local stations, especially during uncertain conditions. Stations often provide regular weather updates and travel advisories.
  • Roadside information boards. Some highways feature electronic information boards with weather alerts and road conditions. Watch for these, especially in areas prone to sudden weather changes.

Travel Safe This Holiday Season

At Coman Townsley, we wish everyone safe holiday travels this December. However, even with meticulous planning, accidents can still occur. If you or your loved one are injured in a car accident while on the road, consult with our compassionate and skilled car accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley.

We can help you understand your rights after a crash and seek compensation to pay for your damages. Contact us for a free consultation today.