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December 20, 2015

Ho Ho Holiday Travel

Smart Driving Practices, a Safe Vehicle, and an Accident Assistance Plan Help Ensure You Get to Grandma’s House in Time for Dinner

The holiday season can be one of the busiest times of the year out on the road.  Whether its trying to make it on time for a big meal with family, to not  missing the start of the big game, to a mad rush for a shopping spree, this time of year often creates a frenzy on the freeway unmatched the rest of the year.

In fact, the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year can be some of the most challenging for drivers, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  With holiday travel being a big contributor to the increase in accidents, it’s likely a wreck can occurr while the vehicle is far from home and the local repair shop.

How can you be safer on the road this holiday season?  Here are a few tips:

Make Sure You Have the Right Ride for Your Road Trip

  • Is your daily driver the ideal vehicle for extended holiday travel?
  • Renting a vehicle, such as an SUV or minivan, can make sure there is plenty of room for the entire family and anything you might need to pack
  • A solid, reliable rental will also allow you to minimize any wear and tear on your personal vehicle

Prepare Your Car as Carefully as Your Meal

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order – Are you due for an oil change?  When was the last time you checked your car’s anti-freeze?
  • Start out with a full tank of gas and check the tire air pressures
  • Make sure the windshield fluid is full and add de-icer in cold climates
  • Check your headlights and taillights
  • Plan your route ahead of time – at highway speed is not the time to program the GPS
  • Check the weather – conditions can change quickly on the road
  • Make sure the driver is well-rested
  • Provide the passengers – particularly the kids – activities, videos and headphones or books to keep them busy and quiet

Make Safety Your Priority on the Road

  • Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired
  • Don’t text or talk when you’re driving – Grandma would rather be surprised when you arrive, rather than receiving a text that you need a tow truck
  • Observe speed limits
  • When there is snow or ice on the ground, drop your speed to a safe limit
  • Leave extra distance between your vehicle and the car in front of you for additional safety
  • Do not use cruise control on icy roads
  • Use caution on bridges, overpasses, and infrequently travelled roads because these may be slippery from ice
  • Use extra caution when driving on one-lane roads

Prepare for a Snow Day

  • If your vehicle has rear wheel drive, put bags of sand or kitty litter in your trunk to help keep your vehicle easier to control
  • Pack a snow day kit just in case you get stuck.  Important items to include are a blanket, gloves, hat, water, granola bars, flashlight and extra batteries, extra cell phone battery, flares, wooden matches in waterproof container, compass, scissors, rope and first aid kit.
  • Prepare a toolbox for digging your car out with foldable shovel, 2×4 planks to put under tires, ice scraper and snow brush, reflective triangles, flares and exterior windshield cleaner

If the unfortunate winter accident does occur, CARSTAR recommends having a collision plan in place so you aren’t stranded on the roadside waiting for assistance.  CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts offers high-quality, reliable repair service in 30 states and 10 Canadian provinces.  Just call 1-800-CARSTAR when you have an accident and they will send the tow truck, contact your insurance company, arrange for a rental car, and repair your car. For information and store locations visit www.CARSTAR.com.

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