Will your family be traveling over the river and through the woods to celebrate the holidays at Grandmother's house? So will nearly 40 million other Americans, so consider the following tips to help make your travels safe and keep the family happy along the way.
Before you hit the road, perform the following safety checks to your vehicle to ensure your car is ready for the trip (and if you want or need a new car for your holiday travels, visit The Hartford Auto Buying Program at www.hartfordautobuying.com):
Tires: Check tire pressures and tread depth. Check the pressure on all the tires–including the spare–with a quality gauge when the tires are cold. Proper pressure levels can be found in the owner's manual or on a sticker that's usually located inside the driver's door jamb. Note that the pressure levels may be different for the front and rear tires.
Batteries: You don't want to get stuck at the In-Law's house with a dead battery! Ensure your battery cable connections are tight, and that the terminals are clean and corrosion-free. If the battery is more than three years old, now is a good time to have it tested to determine how much life it has left.
Wiper Blades: Make sure your wiper blades are not worn or torn and do not chatter and creak during use. If they leave streaks or spots, replace them now. And while you're at it, top off your washer fluid and add a de-icing solvent if you'll be traveling through especially cold or snowy climates.
Traveling with Kids? Avoiding hours of frustration is all about anticipating your child's needs, so help create fun road trip memories by keeping them occupied with a healthy collection of snacks, as well as travel toys and games. Frequent restroom and stretch breaks will help reduce backseat chants of "Are we there yet?"
Traveling with Pets? Many families bring along their four-legged friends, but for their safety it's important that they be buckled into appropriate carriers or restraints. According to BarkBuckleUp a 60-pound dog in only a 35-mph accident becomes a 2,700-pound projectile, so securing your animal–whatever their weight–is very important. Don't forget to schedule snack and potty breaks for Fido, too.
And finally, don't forget the emergency kit! Good planning goes a long way to ensure a comfortable journey, but unexpected problems can arise. Be sure your emergency roadside kit includes a mobile phone and car charger; blankets; a flashlight with extra batteries; windshield scraper and brush; and a small shovel with a sack of sand, cat litter, or traction mats. Make sure your emergency kit contains booster cables and is well stocked with first-aid essentials and non-perishable food items like granola and energy bars, water, and warning flares and reflective triangles. If you don't want to assemble one from scratch, emergency kits are easily purchased online through such retailers as Amazon.com.