Heed these tips if you are traveling by car or truck this holiday

It is the day before Christmas Eve. As a result, millions of Americans are loading gifts and luggage into the vehicles and traveling to various destinations in order to be with loved ones and celebrate the holidays. If you are traveling by car or truck over the next week, understand that you face a heightened risk of being involved in a car accident when compared with most of the rest of the days of the year. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day far too many Americans perish or are injured while traveling by motor vehicle.

It is therefore critical that you follow certain safety tips in order to better ensure that you will not be involved in a devastating crash this holiday season. First and foremost, do not engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Driving while distracted, intoxicated, fatigued or emotionally aggravated are dangerous choices year-round. But given the heightened risk of accidents during the holidays, these behaviors can be especially dangerous in context.

In addition, it is important that you do a safety check on your vehicle before hitting the road. A staggering number of accidents occur only after tires have lost proper inflation, so checking your tires is particularly critical.

While you are performing a safety check, have a loved one or traveling companion stock your vehicle with emergency essentials like blankets, water, flash lights and a first aid kit. If your vehicle breaks down or you are involved in a minor accident, help may take longer than usual to arrive due to high traffic volume and other accidents on the roads. You will want those essentials if you get stuck on the side of the road for any length of time.

Finally, make sure that you have printed directions to your destination if it is unfamiliar. Even if you have a GPS, you cannot guarantee that it will remain in working order for the remainder of your trip. Being lost is a dangerous distraction while driving, so being proactive is important.

Source: AAA, “Holiday Road-Trip Survival Tips”