Safe Travels During the Holidays

Highway with heavy congestion
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 11:26am

The holidays are upon us and that means people will be hitting the road. AAA estimates that 49.3 million travelers will be on roadways this year, and that will be the most since 2005. With more traffic on the streets, drivers can expect delays and an increased risk of accidents. Here’s a list of highway driving tips that can help ensure you and others on the road arrive safe.

Check and prepare your vehicle before leaving

Take the time to check the oil, washer fluid, tire pressure and tread depth, antifreeze and battery power before leaving on your trip. Don’t leave home without refilling or replacing products that are needed. Worn items, especially tires, can affect your safety on the road.
Have an emergency road kit available too. AAA recommends a kit with the following items:

  • Cell phone charger
  • First-aid kit
  • Blanket
  • Water and snacks for everyone, including pets
  • Flashlight
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Jumper cables
  • Traction aid: sand, salt or cat litter
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves
  • Shovel

Prepare yourself

Get a good night’s sleep before hitting the road. A good rule of thumb is at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before your trip. You want to be alert and able to quickly react while driving. 
Plan your route ahead of time and be aware of any possible construction areas that could cause delays. If you are traveling for more than one day, book your hotel stay before leaving.

Secure loose items

Loose items in your vehicle such as luggage, trash, children’s toys, etc. can be a distraction while driving, but also become projectiles in a crash. Take the time to clean out and remove unnecessary items from your vehicle before your trip. Secure large or heavy items that could be harmful during a collision. 

Stay alert

Driving demands undivided attention. Know your limits. Taking a break every two hours or 100 miles will keep you alert. Packing healthy snacks and avoiding fast-food stops will help you be attentive while on the road.


Utilize technology to keep your eyes on the road. Vehicles now come with map displays installed in the dashboard and cell phone integration with the radio. Use the built-in technology or purchase an inexpensive cradle to mount in the vehicle. This will help keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions.

Designate a co-pilot to help navigate too. Let another passenger assist with the map, looking for turns, etc. Many states have “Hands-free” laws that place restrictions on the use of cell phones while driving. The state of North Carolina prohibits the use of a cell phone if you are under the age of 18 or operating a school bus. It is also against the law to text while driving. Do the research and know the laws before traveling to different states.

Move over law

Remember North Carolina’s “Move Over Law.” The law requires motorists, if they can safely do so, to move one lane away from law enforcement or other emergency vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road. This helps keep all involved safe.

Apply these highway driving tips to help you and others on the road arrive at your destination safe.

Dabney Weems and Sgt. Christopher Knox