There are some parts of the United States where weather will make it near impossible to leave the house, let alone get to families’ houses for Thanksgiving. We hope that everything calms down, weather-wise, in the next few days so that everyone can get where they want to be this Thanksgiving.
And for some people, that means driving. Here in California, we might have a little rain to deal with (Please? Pretty please?), but in other states, there is more hazardous weather to deal with. Apparently, over 42 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home over this holiday weekend. Will you be one of them? If so, and you’re driving farther than to the airport, please run down this list of driving tips and be prepared.
- Fill ‘er up: Don’t even think about heading out without a full tank of gas. While you are at the station, check your fluids and tire pressure too, since you’re at a place where you can easily deal with any problems.
- ICE: No, not the cold stuff you put in your drink, but the “in case of emergency” kind of ICE. Grab a first-aid kit at your local pharmacy and then stop at your auto supply store for a car emergency kit, that should have a flashlight, basic tools and more. Make sure you have a blanket, extra water and snacks in case you get stuck in a snowstorm. Don’t think it can’t happen to you—talk to Buffalo, New York about what happened to them already this month.
- Lose some weight: Most new cars list the total weight you can carry on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb, and that includes all passengers and cargo. Don’t put too much weight in the car, and remember to pack well so that a suitcase or other item doesn’t injure anyone when you have to brake suddenly.
- Find your way: If you don’t have a smartphone that has an interactive map feature and driving directions, invest in a portable GPS system. Don’t be that guy who says he doesn’t need one and makes the whole family two hours late for Thanksgiving dinner because they’re lost.
- Just kidding: No, seriously. Prevent the “Are we there yet?” blues by bringing kid-friendly snacks, games and toys for the journey. If you have a tablet device or portable DVD player, even better.
- Animal house: If you’re bringing Fluffy or Fido, make sure they have a seat harness or are in a kennel. Not only can animals on the loose in a car be a dangerous distraction, in the case of an accident your pet could run out into traffic. Don’t forget to bring extra supplies for the pet too, like food, water, leash, waste bags, just in case you get stuck somewhere.
- Get the message: Don’t even think about texting while driving. Not only is it dangerous, but you set a bad example for all the children in the car. If you need to send a text or even make a call, have a passenger do it or wait until you pull over for a bathroom break.
- Weather wise: Know how to drive in inclement weather, and be prepared with chains if you are driving into a snowy area. Allow for longer braking distances and reduce your speed in rain and snow, and drive defensively.
- Have backup: Do you have a roadside assistance service? Make sure it’s up to date and you have your account information at hand in case you need to call them.
- Ensure: Ensure your insurance is up to date and covers everything you need. Are you towing a trailer? Did you rent an RV? Call your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered.
But most of all, let’s be grateful this holiday season for what we have. We’re grateful for all of our loyal customers, many of whom have been with us for decades. Happy Thanksgiving!