Tips for Safe Travels This Holiday Season
According to the AAA, Christmas week, December 19th through 25th – is, by far, the busiest travel week of the year in the United States. Year-end Holiday Travel has increased by more than 25% since 2005. A record number of nearly 108 million Americans are set to travel during the holiday travel period between December 23, 2018 and January 1, 2019. USA Today says Christmas is one of the ‘Top 10 Worst Travel Days’ of the year. Other days on those list include: the day before Thanksgiving, Fridays during the summer, July 4th, Memorial Day, Spring Break, New Year’s Eve, Labor Day, Easter and Mardi Gras. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 90% of Americans travel by car to their holiday destination. Thus, it is important to know the appropriate time to head out on your Holiday journey. The 4 worst days for automobile travel at Christmas-time are predicted to be:
- Thursday, December 20th
- Friday, December 21st
- Sunday, December 23rd
- Wednesday, December 26th
Generally speaking, two days before Christmas, and the day after Christmas are the two worst travel days of the year and should be avoided, if possible. Breaking it down further, you can expect traffic to be the worst during the late afternoon and early evening on Thursday and Friday before Christmas in major metropolitan areas, as many holiday travelers want to get a jumpstart on their weekend. Because Christmas falls on a Tuesday this year, other drivers will hit the road on Sunday, and head back home on Wednesday. Thus, the best times to leave are usually early morning (before 7am) or after the morning commute (between 9-11am) regardless of which day you plan on leaving. Consider alternative routes to avoid traveling through major city traffic during peak travel times. If your schedule allows, you might even consider leaving on Christmas Even or Christmas day when there are fewer cars on the road. Traffic is reportedly lower on Christmas Day than on the day before and the day after the holiday.
How to Prepare for Holiday Travel
Once you’ve determined the best day to embark on your Christmas vacation, make sure that your vehicle is ready for the journey. Follow these helpful tips so you and your family won’t get stranded on the road, with little or no help in sight
Make sure your vehicle is in proper working order by getting an oil change and having the battery, fluid levels, lights, windshield wipers, brakes, tires, belts and hoses all checked out thoroughly by a certified mechanic.
- Load up the car the night before you leave on your vacation and be sure to pack plenty of snacks and drinks for the trip (don’t forget to pack a spare cellphone charger as well!).
- Pack a roadside emergency kit with jumper cables and check to make sure that your spare tire and jack are in good working order.
- Sign up for AAA or other roadside assistance policy so you won’t get stranded on the highway with no one to call for help.
- Keep track of changing weather conditions, along with any potential delays and possible road closures due to snowstorms.
If you follow these rules, you'll be ahead of the game when it comes to your vehicle, ensuring a safe, happy holiday for you, your family and your vehicle.
With all good wishes for a Happy Safe, Holiday and safe travels to and from all of your Holiday Celebrations. From all of your friends at SERVPRO of The East End.