In this post, we share holiday car travel and safety tips from the NHTSA and the Car Care Council to help keep you and your family safe.
For many people, the holiday season means a road trip to visit family for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Tens of millions of Americans will be taking car trips during the holiday season.
A downside to this is that more cars on the road mean more opportunities for car accidents. Not only are there more cars but there can be unpredictable and extreme weather conditions.
You can’t control the weather or the traffic but you can make sure that your car is fully prepared for the trip.
Car safety check for the holidays
- Check your brakes and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
- Check your filters and fluids: engine oil, power steering, brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield washer solvent, antifreeze/coolant.
- Make sure your heaters, defrosters, and windshield wipers are working. Wiper blades should be replaced every six months.
- Check your hoses and belts that can and make sure they are not loose, cracked, brittle, frayed or show excessive wear.
- Check your tire pressure and tread. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
- Check that your exterior and interior lights and headlights are all working.
- Check how long it has been since your last tune-up and oil change and have it serviced if it is close to being due.
Related: Winter checklist for your car
Holiday driving tips
- Travel at a safe speed – Drive at the speed limit, unless weather or road conditions make it so that you should drive slower. Driving at the speed limit when there is snow on the road can sometimes be too fast. Drive safely in work zones and use caution driving at night.
- Don’t drive distracted – No texting while driving and keep your eyes on the road.
- Wear a seatbelt – Wearing your seat belt increases your chance of surviving a crash. In 2017 alone, seat belts saved 14,955 lives. If everyone had worn seat belts on every trip that year, 2,549 more lives could have been saved.
- Make sure children are always buckled or secured in age-appropriate car seats. Since 1975, 11,606 children ages 4 and under have been saved by child restraints. There were 325 children saved in 2017 alone.
- Drive Sober – It’s the law! It can also be a matter of life and death. Designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking. In 2017, there were 10,874 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes involving drivers legally drunk. These unfortunate deaths are entirely preventable.
Related: How to avoid winter car breakdowns
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