CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 14, 2010 - The Holidays are a time of cheer, but they can also be a time for battling traffic from bad weather all the way to Grandma’s house. Staying safe should be a top priority for all travelers and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends taking a few precautions when hitting the road this holiday.
Every year, travelers take to the air and roads during the holiday season. According to surveys conducted by AAA during the recent Thanksgiving holiday, 94 percent of travelers nationally are expected to drive — up from 86 percent in 2008 and 80 percent in 2000.
“Because of weather conditions and increased traffic, staying safe on the roads over the holidays takes additional precautions,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “Before loading up the family, make sure the car is in good condition and you’re prepared for bad weather. While you’re driving, be sure to put down your cell phone or GPS and focus on the road ahead.”
The BBB recommends taking the following steps for safe driving this holiday season:
Create a car safety kit – Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can prepare for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include a blanket, flares, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves.
Take the car in for a checkup – Breaking down on the side of the road can definitely put a damper on the holiday spirit. If your car is due for a check up, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and, if you plan on driving through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires. For a listing of dealers and mechanics you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
Start early and slow down – The best way to fight holiday traffic is to give yourself some extra time to make the trip, and don’t speed. Speeding leads to accidents which increase traffic even more. Also, if you’re caught speeding by law enforcement, that adds travel time and puts a dent in your holiday spending.
Drop the distractions – When you’re behind the wheel, don’t text and drive; if you must, use a hands free headset when talking on the phone and put someone else in charge of the GPS.
For more advice on staying safe over the holidays, visit www.bbb.org
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.