Holiday Travel: Top Tips for Staying Safe on the Road


Along with an increase in traffic on the roads comes a proportional rise in distracted driving and road safety hazards. Here’s how to protect your family while driving during the holiday travel season. 

Over the river and through the woods — to spend the holidays with family, of course! Given the popularity of holiday travel, it’s time to consider the dangers of the practice — and subsequently how to avoid them.

In a press release issued Monday, AAA predicted more than 54.3 million – the most since 2005 – would travel more than 50 miles from home this year. And that’s just Thanksgiving. 

Holiday Travel Techniques

So what are some driving safety basics? Elaine L. Cudnik, advanced nurse practitioner at Renown Health, gives us some tips to keep in mind for safe holiday travel.

Step 1: Eyes Open

Shopping center parking lots are busier during the holidays. Keep an eye out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces.

  • For parents of teens, remind them to be extra alert during this holiday season, when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
  • Make sure you are not distracted while driving. Commit to keeping your phone down. No text message or play list is worth the risk.

Step 2: Buckle Up

  • Remember to buckle up for every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block to the mall.
  • When traveling in large groups, all vehicle occupants need their own seat belt or car seat, even for short rides.
  • Check your car seat before holiday travel. A large percentage of car seats are not used or installed correctly, so double check before you hit the road.
  • Safety in the car goes beyond your little ones. Kids who have outgrown a forward-facing harness seat are not ready for a seat belt or front seat yet. They are safest in a booster seat that enables the adult seat belt to fit properly. Even when children have graduated from booster seats, they should remain in the back seat until they reach the age of 13.

Step 3: Expect the Unexpected 

  • You never know when you have to stop abruptly, so keep hot foods, large gifts and anything that can become a projectile in the trunk.
  • If you are headed to a party and plan to drink alcohol, designate a driver or use a car service to make sure you get home safely.