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Safety tips for your holiday road trip

The holiday season is in full swing. It's a fun, busy and chaotic time of year. Your kids will be on holiday break from school and the family is planning to hit the road. Whether your holiday travels take you to grandma's house or to a sunny beach destination, it's important to make sure the family vehicle is ready to make the trip.

Getting the family ready to travel for the holidays is a lot of work, so it's understandable that vehicle maintenance may have slipped your mind. Use the following tips as a guide to safely navigate through this holiday season:

1. Vehicle maintenance

Make sure your car is prepared for long distance travel by having it checked out by a mechanic before you leave town. Also, consider replacing your windshield wipers (should be done at least once a year); they are relatively cheap and will make a huge difference if driving conditions are bad.

Important note: No matter the length of travel, every car should have an emergency kit.

2. Map your route

We rely so heavily on the instant accessibility of GPS and navigation systems that mapping routes ahead of time has become a thing of the past. But sometimes GPS can be unreliable and lead us astray, knowing your route ahead of time will help alleviate uncertainty of direction and keep you free from distraction.

3. Check the weather

Check the weather forecast and plan your travel schedule accordingly. Prepare for bad weather even if the forecast looks clear.

4. Leave early

Traffic moves slower and roads are busier over the holidays so give yourself enough time and plan to leave early.

5. Pack warm clothing

Weather is often times unpredictable; prepare the best you can by outfitting everyone with warm, protective clothing.

6. Buy a car charger

Traveling with a car charger is the best way to ensure your phone remains fully charged at all times. Most emergencies are unforeseeable and having a dependable form of communication could be crucial.

7. Wear seatbelts

Seatbelts save lives and prevent serious injuries, double-check that all riders are properly bucked in.

8. Don't advertise your trip

Don't overshare and be cautious of what you post on social media. Burglars are more likely to strike when they know you're not around.

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