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Millions of Americans – almost 51 million, to be exact – are expected to hit the road this Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Amid kid wrangling, meal planning, and grocery shopping, we have 10 quick tips that can help make your car journey as efficient as possible.
1. Perform short maintenance check
As soon as you can, before you leave, perform a quick check of the following to address any safety issues before you hit the road:
- Check tire pressure and tread depth
- Check and/or replace wiper blades
- Fill windshield washer fluid reservoir
- Test your car battery
2. Prepare a winter safety kit to bring in your vehicle
Be road trip smart: Have these items on hand should a roadside emergency occur.
- Sand, cat litter, or traction mats for slippery or snowy roads
- Small shovel
- Gloves, hats, and blankets
- Flashlights with fresh batteries and warning flares or triangles
- Shop rags or paper towels
- Drinking water and nonperishable snack bars
- Warm clothes
- Basic hand tools
- Chargers for your phone
3. Avoid traveling during peak times
Google Travel says it has found that Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and the Sunday after Thanksgiving are the busiest days of the season to travel. It’s not too late to see if you can rearrange your plans to take advantage of off-peak times.
4. Keep an eye on your in-car valuables at all times
Municipalities across the country are stepping up efforts to reduce holiday thievery, especially incidents committed by those who peer through car windows to see what’s valuable inside. When stopping for a break mid-road trip, let travelers leave the vehicle in shifts so that someone is always present. And once you’ve reached your destination, be sure to remove everything of value inside. Don’t just check once – we recommend checking twice.
5. Make pit stops a priority
Make sure the driver of your trip takes a break every two hours or 100 miles. This will keep the driver alert, aware, and ready to handle any situation holiday driving may bring.
6. Share the road with all drivers, including truck drivers
These larger vehicles don’t get much respect on our highways. They’re often the victims of our anger and frustration, and they never seem to get the space they need. We may think the sheer size of trucks makes them invincible to other vehicles, but that size can actually be a stressful detriment to a trucker’s driving experience. Take extra steps to let the trucker know you’re passing them – this includes keeping your turn signal on longer than normal and making 100% sure the truck is clear of your vehicle before changing lanes.