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8 Holiday road-trip safety tips

pSnowyCountryRoad_9948437_s.jpgThe end of Halloween marks the beginning of the holiday season and many of you have already started putting your holiday travel plans together. This time of year can be stressful and take a lot of preparation. As you start to gear up for that holiday road-trip, keep these helpful tips in mind for a smooth ride and safe arrival at your destination.

1. Properly maintain your vehicle

Are you in need of an oil change? Are your tires safe for long-distance driving? Have your car checked by a professional before heading out of town.

2. Seat belts and child car seat safety

Are you traveling with small children who still need to be in a car seat? Make sure you're up-to-date on current child car seat safety regulations.

3. Map your route in advance

Yes, the convenience of car navigation and Google maps make it easy for us to get directions on the fly, but planning ahead will save those unnecessary distractions while driving.

4. Be prepared for busy roads and winter weather conditions

Holiday travel means there will be more cars on the road; it might be a good idea to leave earlier in order to avoid heavy traffic areas. Living in Illinois means there's likelihood for snow, ice, and any other unfavorable driving conditions, which is another good reason to leave early and plan your travel route in advance.

5. Pack your valuables out of plain view

Place any gifts or valuables in your trunk or covered and out of sight. Unfortunately, theft becomes a bigger issue over the holidays; take precautions to ensure your belongings are safe.

6. Have all medications readily available

If a member of your family has a medical condition or needs to take medicine throughout your long travel day, make sure they are packed somewhere that is easily accessible.

7. Pack a survival kit

Here is a list of essential items for a winter road-trip survival/safety kit:

  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Extra jackets, boots, socks, hats, scarves and gloves
  • Windshield scraper
  • Shovel
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Water and snacks (energy bars)
  • Tow chain or rope
  • Jumper cables
  • Sand, road salt or cat litter
  • Cellphone charger
  • First aid kit including pocket knife

8. Don't forget your sunglasses

When a driver's vision is compromised by the sun, it can be scary and very dangerous. Keeping an extra pair of sunglasses in your car will not only make it easier for you to see, but will help to avoid any accidents from happening.

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