Holiday travel is back in full force.
Travel experts are predicting more people will travel for the holidays this year than before pre-pandemic levels, as people feel more comfortable and more confident in traveling again. In fact, AAA predicts a 18% jump nationally compared to last year, and air travel will rise 80% to a level that matches pre-pandemic totals. A majority — 76% — plan to travel by car.
That means more drivers on our highways, and more people in airports and railways. Experts are saying we should brace for backups and crowded rest stops, and should prepare with parking reservations and extra time to catch flights.
But safety should also remain a priority. A recent survey found that more than a third of travelers are as concerned about road safety as they are about contracting COVID-19. Local law enforcement is expected to be on patrol during the holiday season, looking for unsafe driving practices, including seat belt violations, speeding, distracted driving, and signs of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
But the holidays don’t have to be a dangerous time to travel. Chain | Cohn | Stiles joins travel and safety experts this holiday season to provide various tips to make sure you and your loved ones make it to your destination safely. Read on to learn more.
BEFORE YOU GO
- If driving, get your vehicle’s battery, fuel system, tires, brakes and fluid levels checked to prevent breakdowns. Make sure you have properly functioning wiper blades. Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle with a safety cone, carjack, flashlight, and jumper cables. Include first aid essentials and extras like a blanket to stay warm if you break down in the cold.
- If flying, check with your airline about coronavirus vaccination or testing requirements for your destination, as they will be enforced before you board. Masks are still required on airplanes, trains, buses and other transit systems, as well as in airports, train and subway stations, bus terminals, and other public transportation hubs.
- Pack protective gear, hand sanitizer and food, and try to minimize interaction during stops.
- Get plenty of rest and go at your own pace. The holidays can be exhausting, and your wellbeing is most important.
- Plan the drive ahead of time, and know alternate routes. Proper planning ensures that you’re prepared for whatever might happen during your trip. If you want to avoid traffic, time your travel to put you on busy roads before or after peak traffic times.
- Give someone close to you a copy of your trip itinerary and photocopies of important documents. This way it will be easy to reach you in case of an emergency.
ON THE ROAD
- Drivers should avoid distractions, including cell phones. Keep your focus on the road and be aware of the other vehicles and drivers around you.
- But carry a cell phone and charger in case you need to call for help, get a tow, or arrange alternative transportation.
- Follow the rules of the road and use caution in work zones.
- Buckle up, slow down and don’t drive impaired.
- Make frequent stops to rest or just stretch your legs. During long trips, rotate drivers. If you’re too tired to drive, stop and get some rest. Stopping for even a few minutes every couple hours can do wonders for keeping your energy high.
- If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far as possible.
- If you find yourself driving in bad weather and visibility is an issue, pay attention to road markings to keep yourself oriented to the roadway. If you have no visibility, pull over.
- Stay hydrated. Not having enough water during a long drive could mean fatigue or decreased alertness, which is dangerous on the road.