Driving During the Holidays
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Driving During the Holidays

The holiday season is coming, and that means visiting relatives and friends to celebrate. The problem is that a lot of people will be doing the same thing: on average, around 30% of the U.S. population does some traveling over the holiday season. Heavy traffic can be stressful, and it increases the chance of being in an accident. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to make these trips easier and safer.

Get Your Car Serviced Now

Getting your car serviced now will ensure it’s ready for your trip, whether the repairs are simple or will require a few days to have parts shipped in for major repairs. Along with oil and filter changes, it’s a good idea to get the battery tested so you’ll know if it can handle cold starts and have the vehicle rustproofed to keep road salt at bay.

One other item that’s easy to overlook for both vehicle owners and technicians alike is the spare tire. Put your mind at ease and make sure your spare is at the recommended tire pressure.

Put Together a Winter Survival Kit

Just because the weather is fine at home doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from storms on the road. Even if you manage the trip without incident, accidents are more likely in holiday traffic and can stop traffic for hours. Here are some items you should pack for a safe journey:

– Windshield scraper
– Extra clothing and blankets or a sleeping bag
– Shelf-stable snacks like protein bars and trail mix
– Water
– A small shovel
– Kitty litter, salt or sand
– A first aid kit
– Medications
– Jumper cables
– Emergency reflectors and flares
– Cell phone charger

Traveling across multiple states? Most transportation departments offer apps that let you check current road conditions on your phone so you can avoid hazardous roads and major accidents.

Try to Avoid Weekend Traveling

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, most December holiday travel occurs on the weekends preceding the holiday if that holiday is early in the week. This year, both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fall on a Monday, so nearly all the holiday traffic will be concentrated on those two weekends. If you can, try to leave Friday or Monday to avoid the bulk of this traffic.

Take Your Time

Traffic is going to be heavier than normal, which means it will take longer than normal to get to your destination, even in clear weather. Taking a break every couple of hours will help you feel refreshed through the drive and is especially important if you’re driving in poor weather conditions. No matter how much experience you’ve had driving in snow, the added attention required over hours of driving will still take its toll.

Fight Food Comas

Holiday meals can lead to postprandial somnolence, the medical term for a food coma. This is caused by eating a large number of carbohydrates, triggering a nervous reaction that is essentially the opposite of fight-or-flight. Although it sounds counterintuitive, eating a low carb, high protein snack can reverse the effects so you can regain your alertness for the drive ahead.

Have a Designated Driver

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you drink at someone’s home, but having a designated driver is still critical to the safety of you and your fellow passengers. If you’re hosting a party, make sure to call a cab or Uber for anyone who insists on going home before they’re sober.

Merton Auto Body is More than Just Body Repair

We may specialize in collision repair, but we also offer other services you may need before you set off to meet your relatives. Need a wheel alignment? Want to have your car detailed? Have a car that’s due for rustproofing? We can do all these things so your vehicle will be ready for your next trip.

If you do have an accident, we can help you get your car back on the road quickly. We’re an I-CAR Gold Class certified shop and our technicians are ASE certified, which means we have the experience and training to fix your vehicle correctly. Our on-staff appraisers and Autobody Estimating Center can get work approved by your insurance company so you don’t have to wait for repairs. Please visit us at our Sussex, WI location or stop by our website for an online estimate. We proudly service the surrounding Lake Country and Waukesha County area, including Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, Hartland, and Delafield.



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