It’s the holiday season, which means more people will be hitting the road to travel to see their loved ones for their annual celebrations.
While that means stocking up on plenty of things to keep the little ones from going stir crazy, it also means we all need to be extra vigilant while behind the wheel.
And that starts before you even step foot inside your vehicle. Even if you’ve made the same trip year after year, you might not realize there’s some essential prep that everyone should keep in mind before heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s (or any other loved one’s) house.
You might think you’ve checked everything off your list as you head down your route, but you’d be surprised how many of the items below people forget along the way.
Here are several things that will make your trip easier.
1. Get A Tune Up
Regular check-ins with your mechanic are crucial to remaining safe throughout the year, but even more so when you might find yourself hitting a rough patch of weather or putting triple digit miles on the odometer.
2. Let The Driver Select The Tunes
Studies have shown that listening to music you enjoy helps keep you alert on the road, so unless your passenger has exactly the same taste in music as you, tell them to wait until it’s their turn behind the wheel to choose the music. You can ask the passenger to physically adjust the radio so you can keep your hands on the wheel, though.
3. Pack Portable Battery Chargers
If you’re relying on your phone for guidance or have your little ones entertained with tablets, the last thing you want is to run out of juice. Grabbing a car charger and a few extra portable chargers will make sure that doesn’t happen. It could also be life-saving if you find your family stranded in the middle of nowhere from a wrong turn with zero battery left on your phones.
4. Look At The Map Before Taking Off
Don’t wait until you’re halfway down your block to program your route — even if your passenger is helping out, it’s still distracting. You might also want to use more than one app at a time for more features like traffic monitoring or sightseeing pit stops.
5. Skip The Drive-Thru
It’s all too easy to overindulge on super-sized meals from the easily accessible fast food chains, but just remember how you feel when you’ve stuffed one too many fries into your mouth: potentially bloated and a little bit sleepy.
6. Grab Non-Salty Snacks
I love munching on a bag of chips or pretzels as much as the next person, but increased salt intake means you’ll be drinking more liquid. This leads to more bathroom breaks when you’re trying to make it to your destination on time. Instead, pack some yummy fruit or granola for your hunger pangs.
7. Take The Scenic Route
Heading down the same roads that all blend together can get pretty monotonous and lead to highway hypnosis — a dangerous state to be in for any driver, and even more so for one with any precious cargo. Plus, you’ll be able to take in more of the local culture and scenery by going off the beaten path. Just make sure you don’t venture too far from your course!
8. Don’t Forget The Cat Litter
I don’t mean just making sure your feline friends are taken care of before you leave (though obviously you should do that, too). For those traveling in potentially snowy and icy conditions, the litter can help you gain traction in a sticky situation.
9. Keep Your Feet On The Floor
It might be tempting to relax in the passenger seat with your feet up on the dash, but that’s also where the airbag deploys from in a collision and can make the traumatic situation even more painful when your legs suddenly fly back, causing serious damage to your face.
10. Invest In De-Icing Fluid
If you’re heading to or from chilly weather, adding this to your wiper fluid and stashing extra in your trunk will make life so much easier than attempting to chip away at the frosted windows with a scraper.
11. Make Sure Your Emergency Kit Is Stocked
Obviously, you are hoping for a smooth ride the whole way, and probably haven’t had to use your emergency gear all that much since purchasing it for your first long road trip. It’s a good idea to take a peek and see if there’s anything that needs to be replenished.
Did we miss any good tips you like to keep in mind while traveling? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your loved ones!
This story originally appeared at LittleThings.