Archive for the ‘Safe Driving Tips’ Category

What is Accident Alert?

Posted on: February 10th, 2020 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

accident alert

Maybe you’re used to seeing it on your TV screens or on the LED signs over the highways, or maybe you just saw it for the first time the other day and now you’re wondering – what does a city-wide accident alert really mean? As a Denver auto body shop, we see this alert a lot, and we do field our fair share of questions on this. Truthfully, it depends. There are a few things that could cause it, but here are the basics of what you should know and when you might want to keep an eye out for the notification.

What You Need to Know About Accident Alert

When an Accident Alert is in effect, the volume of calls regarding crashes and automobile accidents is often so high that police cannot respond to all of them. The reasons for this volume may be a result of a number of different things, but when an Accident Alert is declared, there must be the following things in place to warrant police presence at the scene of a crash:

  • Damaged vehicles are causing the street to be closed
  • Fatality or injuries requiring immediate medical attention are present
  • Impaired driving (drug or alcohol-related) played a part in the accident
  • Any drivers fail to remain on scene
  • Any drivers do not have a valid license
  • Damage to public property
  • Involvement of on-duty City personnel

Because of the volume of accidents expected when an Accident Alert is issued, only the most pressing and critical ones can be addressed with the limited police resources available. So, now we know what the police will respond to during an Accident Alert. But what causes an accident alert?

Severe Weather

Severe weather is the number one reason for this alert to be issued. This time of year, when the snowfall hits record amounts and the winter weather is often in short, severe bursts, Accident Alerts are the most common. Winter weather creates hazardous road conditions more quickly than most other types of weather. However, it’s not uncommon to see this alert in the spring, summer, or fall when flash flooding becomes an issue.

Community Emergency

Outside of severe weather, other community emergencies may spawn an Accident Alert as well. This may include city-wide traffic light outages, broken water mains, avalanches in the mountain roads, or other similar issues. If the community is facing an emergency (especially if the mayor declares a city-wide emergency), expect an Accident Alert to be in place as well.

Be Cautious

When an Accident Alert is in effect, it’s important to exercise greater caution than normal while driving. Not only because police resources are limited, but because the likelihood of an influx of accidents means a greater likelihood that you may encounter an accident or two in your driving. Encountering accidents can increase the likelihood of getting involved in one yourself if you’re not careful to avoid curiosity slow-downs or don’t give yourself enough time to get out of the path of the accident. For that reason, exercising extreme caution on the roads during an Accident Alert is incredibly important.

If you find yourself caught up in the influx during an Accident Alert, give us a call. We’ll help get you back on the road as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of auto body repair.

What to Do When Stuck in Winter Weather

Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

stuck in winter drivingIf there’s one thing Coloradans know best, it’s how quickly the weather can change from manageable to impassable. Especially in the winter, roads can go from dry and clear to shut down in a matter of hours. While it’s always best to avoid travel if that kind of storm is a possibility, we all know that sometimes it’s impossible to predict when a winter storm will hit. Even more, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the need to travel. But what should you do if you get stuck in the middle of a storm in your vehicle? Here are a few things to accomplish as soon as possible.

Alert Authorities

If you have service and any battery on your cell phone (if you have a charger in your vehicle, we highly recommend keeping a high charge all winter long), call and alert the authorities. Chances are in the kind of weather that gets you stuck, you’re probably not the only one. This may mean that they can’t reach you for a while, but letting them know where you are and that you’re stuck is a huge, important first step to getting unstuck before things get dire.

Bust out the Emergency Kit

We’ve written about creating emergency kits before, so be sure to read that if you’re looking for advice on what to include in your kit. At this point, the kit should be prepped and in your vehicle, ready for a worst-case scenario like this. If you packed a shovel in your kit, you may be able to spend some time trying to dig yourself out, to see if you can gain any traction and get yourself out of the situation. If you are going to try to dig yourself out, ensure you’re in a safe position to do so. Otherwise, it’s time to dig into those blankets, sweatshirts, and other layers you packed.

Conserve Energy

Conserving energy is key if you’re unsure of how long you’ll be stuck. We’re talking energy of all sorts. Energy in your phone, your own personal energy, the energy in your vehicle. All of it. Use it sparingly and wisely. If you can, utilize the sun to warm your vehicle so you can keep the engine running only at a bare minimum (to avoid freezing in the fuel line or engine) until the sun sets and you’re dealing with colder nighttime temperatures.

Stay Put

We know it’s tempting to leave your vehicle and try to seek help or shelter, but there’s no way of knowing how treacherous the conditions are or how far exactly you are from reaching anything or anyone who might be of assistance. It may feel a little scarier, but we recommend staying put. Stay with your car, stay in your car as much as you can. This will make it easier for authorities to find you, and it will ensure you don’t wind up more lost or more stuck than you already are.

On the bright side, weather in Colorado tends to clear out as quickly as it comes in, making it often a shorter span of time between getting stranded and getting rescued than might be the case in other areas. That being said, it’s important to take being stranded in a winter storm seriously, and do your best to stay in control of what you can. Conserve your energy, ration out your food, stay warm, and keep your vehicle in working order, and hopefully you’ll be out of the uncomfortable position in no time.

Ice Driving Tips

Posted on: December 16th, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

ice drivingIf you’ve ever lived a Colorado winter before, you know as well as we do that winter weather rarely means just snow around here. There is almost always an element of ice involved as well – whether it’s under the snow or replaces it entirely, icy driving is an inevitability in the Front Range this time of year. So how do you stay safe when the roads are anything but? Here are some things you need to know before you hit those ice-covered roads.

Don’t Do It

Our first tip is perhaps the most important. If at all possible, avoid driving on icy roads entirely. If you have the ability to work remotely, reschedule events or take a day off, we recommend that route. It’s the safest route. When staying off the roads until the city has had a chance to salt them or until the inclement weather has passed entirely is not an option, there are other things you should do to prepare.

Be Aware

Checking the weather and road conditions in your area should be a daily practice in the winter. It can help you understand whether or not your morning commute is going to be significantly more treacherous or not. Checking the weather the night before as well as the morning of can help you plan accordingly. Because you should never be in a rush when there is ice on the road, we recommend allowing yourself plenty of extra time if the weather looks wintry.

No One Is “Slide-Proof”

We hate to be the bearer of bad news to those who bought souped up SUVs with the hopes of being able to tackle anything Mother Nature threw at them without a care in the world, but SUVs, 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive don’t actually make it easier to drive on icy roads. Everyone is equally susceptible to sliding in these conditions because ice doesn’t just make traction difficult, it makes it impossible. Knowing that you’re not immune to the conditions of the road is an important step to being as safe on them as possible. Slow down. Way down. It’s not uncommon for speeds of under 45 mph to be necessary even on highways when the roads are particularly icy.

Avoid Brakes

Along with slowing way down, avoid using your brakes. Hitting the brakes often increases the likelihood of sliding or losing control under icy road conditions because brakes seek traction. When there is none to be found, you can easily find yourself spinning, sliding, or your ABS system attempting to correct (which it can’t.) Of course, coming to a stop on the road will be necessary at times, but doing so as slowly as possible, applying minimal pressure to your brakes to successfully stop is your best bet at staying safe under these road conditions.

Understand the Risks

Icy road conditions make pileups more likely. Sometimes, your crash or your driving is not what’s posing the highest risk to you – it’s other drivers that may approach your crash or your vehicle too quickly and end up out of control trying to fix it. Driving on icy roads is one of the riskiest things a driver can do in a city or highly trafficked area. Knowing what you’re up against is extremely important if you absolutely must travel under these conditions. If, despite your best efforts you still find yourself in an accident, the team at Accurate Auto Body can help get you back on the road with our expert auto body repair services.

Winter Driving Prep

Posted on: October 22nd, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

winter driving prepWe’ve faced our first snow in the Front Range and now all of our minds are starting to wonder – when will winter rear its head again? When will it be here to stay? Before you bet on that office pool for the last day of fall, take a little time to make sure you’re prepared at home. As your auto body shop, we all know that road conditions can go from perfect to dangerous in no time at all in Colorado, so what do you need to know to ensure your vehicle is ready to make it through the season?

It’s All About the Tires

Tires matter big time when it comes to winter driving. If you’re wondering why we’ve got one word for you: Traction. It’s the big decider on whether or not you stay on the road or start skidding. Good traction means no problem sticking to the road where you’re supposed to, but traction gets tricky in the winter. Snow and ice both mess with traction and if you don’t have 1) the proper tires equipped to handle such weather and 2) the proper levels of inflation in said tires, you could be setting yourself up for a messy and potentially dangerous season.

Prepare for the Worst

It’s not the most optimistic way to look at things, but it is the best way to ensure you’re prepared no matter what. Consider your winter weather driving worst-case scenario. Got it? For most, it’s either crashed in a ditch or stranded with no idea of when you might find help or be able to get yourself out of the situation. We recommend preparing for both of these situations. Have an emergency kit put together and stored in your car before the weather gets bad. Include extra layers of clothing, food, water, a radio, portable chargers and batteries, spare tires, a snow shovel, hand and foot warmers, etc. Whatever you know you need in your kit to get through a night in your car stranded – pack that.

Visibility Matters

This goes both ways. You need to be visible to oncoming traffic and you need to be able to see while you’re driving. Are your headlights working? Are your wiper blades in good condition? What about your wiper fluid? Chances are you haven’t touched the latter since last winter, so it’s probably time to top up with some wiper fluid rated for –30 degrees. Make sure your back up, rearview, and any other external cameras your vehicle might have are cleared off and ready for your next trip. All of these things can help increase your visibility and increase your ability to see others on the road, no matter what the weather.

Give ‘Em Space

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of driving like its winter now. Practice staying a little further back from the vehicle in front of you. Giving adequate space year-round is a good idea, but it’s extra important when the weather gets dicey and a hard brake could cause a multi-car pile-up pretty quick. Getting in the habit now will help you avoid those kinds of mistakes when it really matters.

Thinking about and prepping for winter isn’t exactly the most exciting time of the year for many, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. A little extra time spent thinking ahead and prepping now could save you money, time, frustration, and disaster in the long run. And, if you do have need of auto body repair, give us a call for a free estimate.

Transitioning to Snow Tires

Posted on: October 7th, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

snow tire transitionWell, Front Rangers, we’ve officially done it. We’ve reached the part of the year where snow is entering the forecast. Thursday calls for snow, and as your Denver auto body shop, we thought it would be as good a time as any to brush up on what you need to know about transitioning to snow tires.

What to Consider

Of course, you want to consider the weather. Snow tires aren’t really meant to be on your vehicle for long periods of time when there isn’t snow on the ground. They’re built to handle the chill, the snow, and in some cases, even help make the ice a little less dangerous. Obviously, with that little snowflake on the map for Thursday, now would be a good time. But it’s also worth considering whether or not that snow will stay. Is it the first snow of a long Winter season, or the first snow that will give way to an Indian summer or a few more weeks of fall before snow becomes a consistent part of our lives again?

When to Change

When the temperatures are consistently chilly and snow is in the forecast is an excellent time to swap them out. After a few chilly weeks, it’s reasonably safe to assume that winter is on the horizon and plan accordingly. If you’re not sure whether or not you accidentally forgot to swap your winter tires out last year, check for a snowflake on the tire. That will give you your answer! Aim to change them when the weather starts to get worse, but be cautious about waiting too long. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of a blizzard without the right tires to help you drive safely through it.

How to Change

First things first, we recommend using a different set of rims with your winter tires if you can make that work. This will save tons of time when it comes time to swap them out. However, if you’re not able to go that far, we would recommend taking them to a place that swaps tires out professionally. Getting a set of tires onto pre-existing rims isn’t exactly the easiest task to take on if you’re not already familiar with the process.

What to Check

There are a number of things you should check once you have those winter tires on and ready to roll. You’ll want to check the rims and make sure everything is fitting well. Check for that snowflake, you know, just in case. Make sure it’s on all four. Check the air pressure and fill where needed. Because the tread is one of the most important parts of a winter tire, checking the tread is extremely important. Is it thick enough to handle another season? If it’s thinning out, you may want to consider buying a new set. A threadbare tire is dangerous in any season and can be downright deadly on snowy streets.

Not sure where to start with changing your vehicle’s tires over to the winter-ready ones? Give us a call and we can help!

Heavy Rain Driving Tips

Posted on: June 20th, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

rain driving tipsWe’re officially out of snowy season in the Front Range (thank goodness) but if you’ve been here for any length of time, you know that the sunny hiking season often brings heavy storms in the afternoons. They move through quickly, but with a lot of power behind them, and it’s important to know how to deal with that if you’re on the road. From prevention to things you can do when you’re caught in the middle of a downpour, here are some of our best tips for driving in heavy rain. The fact of the matter is, we see just about as many collisions here at the auto body shop as a result of thunderstorms as snowstorms.

Pull Over

If the rain is really coming down, we always recommend pulling over if you can manage to do so. It’s the safest option for you and those around you. Thankfully, in Denver and surrounding areas, the storms we see in the afternoons often pass through quickly, so pulling over and waiting ten minutes to see if it lightens up is always our first suggestion.

Beware of Hydroplaning

One of the biggest dangers with torrential rains is the chance of hydroplaning. A sudden influx of water on the roads can make it harder for your vehicle to gain traction. If you find yourself hydroplaning, it’s important to remember NOT to press on the gas. Calmy take your foot off the gas and steer in the direction your car needs to go. Do not turn abruptly or press on the brakes, either.

Headlights and Hazards

Many vehicles come equipped with an auto-on for headlights, and having this feature in place is very helpful when inclement weather rears its head. Ensuring your headlights are on any time the rain starts falling, especially when it stars falling heavily, is key to alerting other drivers to your position. If the downpour is exceptionally rough and you’re driving at a much slower pace than you normally would, sometimes turning your hazards on can be a good idea, as well. It can alert oncoming drivers to the fact that you are driving slowly and they should take precaution as needed.

Ventilate

When the rain pours down, the humidity rises, and that can mean fogged up windshields. Visibility is already reduced in the case of heavy rainfall, so furthering that issue with a fogged up windshield is not helpful. Make sure to ventilate your vehicle properly (most will have a setting specifically to help with this – the windshield symbol with the squiggly lines going up through it).

Don’t Follow Closely

You should always keep an adequate amount of distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you no matter what the weather, but it’s especially important when rain is falling heavily. With weather like that, the vehicle in front of you may hydroplane unexpectedly, or be forced to slow down quickly, and you want to allow plenty of space for you to react as needed and keep yourself and any other drivers nearby as safe as possible.

The Danger of Standing Water

Perhaps the most dangerous part of driving in heavy rain is standing water. It seems harmless enough, but heavy rain can cause flash flooding and instances of standing water that could very well sweep your car away, make you lose control, or negatively impact the electrical components of your vehicle. Standing water also greatly increases your chances of hydroplaning. All in all, if you see standing water in your way and can alter your route, we highly recommend that.

There is plenty to be on the lookout for when the heavens open up and the rain starts pouring down, but with properly maintained tires, and a good understanding of the safety measures you should take, you should be just fine! If you find yourself with a damaged car requiring auto body repair in the aftermath of a rainy day, give us a call. Our experienced team will get you back on the road in no time.

Wait Is That Ice? Black Ice Dangers

Posted on: February 1st, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Denver No Comments

black ice driving tipsBlack Ice Driving Tips

We’ve already experienced a few dangerous days this winter in Colorado, but as we head into the heavy snow-and-ice season that February and March so often brings in the Front Range, it’s a good time to brush up on how to handle one of the season’s most dangerous hazards with some black ice driving tips. After all, as your Denver auto body shop, we do want you to be safe out there on the ice-covered road.

What Is Black Ice

Despite it’s name, black ice is actually clear, but is named as such because it’s so thin and so clear that it’s often unidentifiable on the road. Most frequently, this slippery substance forms when the air is at or below 32 degrees at the surface of the road. These conditions cause the precipitation to freeze on contact, creating the dangerous, nearly invisible stuff.

Take Extra Precautions

There isn’t anything you can really do to prevent black ice from existing, but you can take extra precautions as a driver to make sure that you don’t fall victim to its sneakiness and find yourself in an accident or a ditch. While not foolproof, the thermometer in your vehicle can help you keep an eye on how cold the roads might be, and whether or not you need to ensure you’re keeping your eyes peeled for black ice on your commute. Some newer models even have indicators that will warn you when the roads might be icy.

Give yourself extra time when winter weather arises, to get where you need to be, and drive defensively. Stay alert. If the roads are mostly dry, but you see patches that look dark and glossy, there’s a good chance that could be black ice – proceed with caution!

When Does it Form?

Since it can be tricky to know where black ice might be, a helpful precaution is to know more about where and when it forms. The ideal time for black ice to freeze is between sunset and sunrise when temperatures are typically at their lowest, and there is no influence of the sun to melt things away. Shaded areas, as well as bridges and overpasses, are prime areas for black ice to form, so driving with extra caution in these areas during the winter is advised.

Don’t Brake

This is probably our most important of all our black ice driving tips. If you find yourself on a patch of black ice and feel your vehicle sliding, resist the urge to brake. Chances are this will only cause you to spin further out of control and cause skidding. Instead, keep your wheel steady and straight, and try to get through the icy patch safely.

Be Careful of Overcorrection

When your vehicle begins sliding on ice, be wary of overcorrecting. Like we’ve suggested in our winter driving tips article, steering into the skid is often the safest choice, but do so carefully.

Black ice can be extremely dangerous for vehicles on the road, but with a little preparation, you can handle a run-in with the slippery stuff fairly successfully. Ideally, your city does a good enough job of salting that it’s rarely an issue, but when the winter weather rages, it’s good to know you have the knowledge to cover any salting gaps that might exist.

Skid Recovery

Posted on: January 7th, 2019 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

skid recoverySkid Recovery Tips

Winter in Colorado comes in fits and starts, and usually takes us all by surprise. When that severe winter weather hits, it’s not unusual to see more accidents, more vehicles losing control and winding up in the ditch, and more skidding. The best way to survive a skid is to never have it happen in the first place, but if you find yourself in a situation where you’re losing traction and control, there are ways to correct the issue. Still, it’s important to know that skidding is extremely dangerous, and prevention is the best way to avoid any potential negative outcomes.

Don’t Assume You Know

As it turns out, being taught skid recovery in driver’s ed doesn’t mean you’re actually prepared to handle it if it happens on the road. In fact, there’s a chance you’re worse off if you’ve been “taught” how to handle a skid in the past. It’s less important whether or not the information was technically correct or not, and more about what having that “knowledge” does for your confidence. Or, in many instances, overconfidence. The feeling that you could recover easily leads many drivers to feel like they’re invincible. One of the best ways to handle a potential skidding situation is to know that skidding is a risk, and preparing to act accordingly if you find yourself in a skid.

Hands on the Wheel

A lot of classes teach you to shift into neutral when you experience a skid, but this is almost never a beneficial thing to do. Instead, keep your hands on the wheel. You’ll need them both there to help you recover.

Eliminate the Cause

If possible, get rid of the reason you’re skidding. If you started sliding because you sped up too quickly, take your foot off the gas pedal. A lot of times, eliminating the cause may not be possible, and even if it is possible, you’re still skidding, so the next couple of steps are the most important.

Steer Into the Skid…Sometimes

If you have rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, steering into the skid is your best bet. That means you need to turn the wheel in the same direction that your wheels are going. This should help correct the direction. If you’re driving a front-wheel vehicle and begin to skid, straighten the steering wheel out.

Trust the ABS

ABS systems exist for a reason, and they can come in handy when you start to lose control. If, when you press on the brakes, you get that stuttery feeling, that’s just the ABS doing its job! Keep pressing on the brakes while you steer into the skid whenever this is possible.

Prevention First

While those tips can help you recover from a skid with (hopefully) minimum damage, prevention is where you avoid damage entirely. The best way to prevent a skid is to pay attention. Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to the road conditions, and drive accordingly! Don’t drive too fast, or follow other vehicles too closely, or try to come out of a stop too aggressively. Take steering easy, and slow down around turns. In short, be careful!

If you find yourself facing vehicle damage at the hands of a skid that you couldn’t quite steer out of, contact the trusted team at Accurate Auto Body for your auto body repair.

When You Should Actually Use 4WD and When You Shouldn’t

Posted on: November 27th, 2018 by Accurate Auto Body Repair No Comments

when to use 4wdWhen To Use 4WD

As winter weather rears its head again, we find ourselves checking our tires a little more closely, looking into the features our vehicle might have to help us get through the winter weather without having to drastically alter the way we travel. For some, those 4WD systems are looking awfully tempting nowadays, but before you activate that feature, as your auto body shop we urge you to consider a few things. There are some instances where it’s useful, and some instances where it really ends up doing more harm than good.

Know the Difference

First things first, you need to know what you’re working with. 4WD systems are typically only found in larger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs. Many vehicles now come with AWD (all-wheel drive) which is a different system entirely. Before you consider putting your vehicle into 4WD, it might be a good idea to make sure you actually HAVE a 4WD system to turn on. Once you have that sorted out, you can look into when you should actually be utilizing the system.

Off the Beaten Path

On the whole, there are very few times you should actually utilize your 4WD system. One of them, perhaps the most obvious, is when you’re going off-road. When your tires are officially off the pavement, and you’re dealing with uncertain terrain, that’s when this system really shines. Of course, if you’ve never really off-roaded before, we recommend taking it slow and simple to start, until you get used to how the combination of utilizing your 4WD system and driving off road causes your vehicle to handle differently, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a great way to fulfill your inner adventurer and make that system work as intended.

Deep Snow

Now, for the one on most driver’s minds this time of year – snow. 4WD may help you get through deeper snow, and afford you better traction while you navigate those wintery roads. Bear in mind, this isn’t for a light dusting. We’re talking those six-inch nights that lead to dicey commutes the following morning. And, regardless of whether or not that 4WD is giving you an added boost on the roads that are still snow-covered, it’s no excuse for taking the proper driving precautions to account for the less-than-ideal conditions you’ll be driving in.

Beware of Ice

Because, as helpful as 4WD may be in the snow, it doesn’t do a lick of good if you hit a patch of ice. 4WD will not make you stop any faster than any other driving system. Ice is still slippery, no matter what, and if you’re using your 4WD as an excuse to drive without care in winter driving conditions, you could find yourself in a wreck pretty quickly.

Choose Wisely

It’s important to know when to use this system and when not to, because putting your vehicle into 4WD when it’s not required can cause serious damage. If it’s engaged while you’re driving on dry, paved roads, you are likely causing damage to the 4WD components and putting yourself in a position where the system might not work when you need it to.

It may not be the most exciting thing, but reserving that 4WD system for the times when it’s actually needed is the best way to extend the capabilities of what that system can offer you as well as the life of your vehicle. Knowing you can count on the system in deep snow (but not ice!) and during those off-road adventures is worth the peace of mind, but don’t neglect to make sure you have quality tires with the right amount of traction (do the penny test to make sure they aren’t too bald!) as well.

 

Safe Driving Tips for Thanksgiving

Posted on: October 24th, 2018 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

thanksgiving travel tipsThanksgiving Driving Tips

We’re nearing the end of October, which means holidays are just around the corner, and for many families that means holiday travel. Now, there are few things more stressful and exciting than gearing up for a road trip where good food and fun time with family lies in waiting on the other side. When you’re gearing up for your own holiday travels, as your auto body shop, we know that preparation is key to preventing accidents and staying on that schedule you so optimistically set before the season got hectic. Here are some of our best Thanksgiving driving tips for a safe road trip.

Keep an Eye on the Weather

This time of year, Colorado can go from 70 degrees one day to snowfall the next, so keep a close eye on the weather as your travel date approaches, and be prepared for last-minute change-ups in the forecast. Don’t travel in inclement weather if you can avoid it, and only travel in snowfall if your vehicle is properly prepared to take on those road conditions. A Thanksgiving stuck at home is better than a Thanksgiving stuck in the ditch.

Stock that Emergency Kit

You should make sure your vehicle’s emergency kit is stocked year-round, but if it’s been a while since you swapped out expired supplies and refreshed the pieces of the kit that need it, now’s the perfect time. We’re heading into a season that isn’t the best for road travel but requires it for many families thanks to the holidays. Whether it’s Turkey Day or you’re looking ahead to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or any other Winter holiday celebrations, having a freshly stocked emergency kit can be the sole reason you recover well and hang in there if anything does go drastically awry with your travel plans. Blankets, batteries, a crank radio, food, first aid kit supplies, extra layers of clothing, phone charger banks, and paper maps are all necessary pieces of the puzzle. Jumper cables, spare tires, and tire jack equipment are also key.

Minimize Distractions

This might be one of the harder ones on our list, but it still rings true as an important part of getting your family from point A to point B safe and sound. We’re not saying you should eliminate distractions entirely – that’s completely unrealistic, and we understand that. However, any steps you can take to minimize distractions should be taken before hopping in the car. This might look like pre-loading the directions onto your phone or vehicle’s GPS system, designating a music selector as whoever is in the front passenger seat rather than attempting to play DJ while you’re behind the wheel, silencing phone notifications while you’re driving, making sure your kids have enough to keep them occupied that they won’t squabble with one another or shout questions at you every fifteen seconds that you simply can’t answer. Keep pets in kennels or carriers if possible, if they are otherwise difficult to travel with, or assign a passenger in the back seat to be in charge of keeping the pets well behaved throughout your travel. Whatever you can do to make distractions harder to come by, do it!

Break it Up

If you’re staring down the barrel of a 12+ hour drive to your final destination, consider breaking it up into more than one day’s worth of driving. Set a goal for how far you want to get in a single day, but pay attention to your needs and the needs of your family. If the drivers are starting to wear thin and sleepiness is prevailing, pull over and find a hotel for the night. The cost of that will be much cheaper than potential hospital bills alongside vehicle repair bills when a sleepy driver results in an accident.

However you plan, prepare, and execute your family’s holiday travels, just keep in mind that safety is paramount! After all, you have the best chance of enjoying your holiday if you get there safe and sound!