holiday safety tips

Holiday Safety Tips: Road Trip!

Good day fellow travelers!

There are just 66 days left in our current journey around our sun.

Today I want to offer some advice coming out of my 50 years of emergency service to humanity, regarding road trip safety and the upcoming holidays.

Over the river and through the woods…

Please feel free to share this page with others. Who knows you may evens save a life or two or ten. I know I do when quit driving on the sidewalks.

So here we go 8 (or so) tips to get you from point A to point B:

Tip #1 You guessed it: Don’t drink, medicate, sleep or text when you drive.

Your first responsibility behind the wheel is to keep from bending things, especially the humans within the vehicle.

Did you know that according to statistics the 2019 death toll (during the holidays was:

By the way one-third of these fatalities was linked to driving under the influence.

  • Thanksgiving Day – 439
  • Christmas Day – 318
  • New Years Day – 279

Tip #2 Prepare your vehicle for winter

Autumn is a great time to get out there and check the tires, fluids and emergency equipment. The best time to replace your battery is before you need to.:

  • Test your battery – cold weather sucks the life out of older batteries. To be sure you have a good one replace the battery every 3 to 5 years.
  • Make sure heating/cooling system is in good shape.
  • Inspect drive belts and electrical connections.
  • Take a walk around the vehicle to see if all the lights are working (best done at night, of course).
    • Reminds me a of a story: My brother and I are sitting in a bar. He knows I am all about space exploration. So, he tells me about NASA sending a satellite to study the sun (yes they really did). He says it is a foolish waste of money. So I ask why? He says they launched it during the day, so what good is that he asked? I am not sure where this is going and I only had two beers. So I say what’s wrong with that? He begins to inform me that any study of the sun cannot possibly happen during the day because it is so hot. They should do it at night when it is cooler.
  • Check your tires
    • Do they have more air in them than a politician?
    • How about tread depth? More than 2/32 inch?
  • Take a look at your wiper blades and wiper fluid. Did you ever wonder why they only go bad right in front of the driver and not the passenger? My brother said it was because I use that side more.
  • Another good idea is to always make sure your gas tank is at least 1/2 full. That way you get two benefits:
    • You keep from forming water crystals that could clog gas lines in freezing temperatures and
    • You are to not run out of gas when you are stuck in a blizzard on the I-70 parking lot. The vehicle’s heater will run far longer if the engine is running.

Tip #3 (This is serious) Make sure to build your own emergency kit.

You can buy them already to go or build your own with that school backpack you kid refuses to carry.

  • Pack at least one blanket. You can also get Mylar (plastic) space blankets that work really well. You may also want to include some of those chemical packets that create heat like the ones the hunters use.
  • Pack some snacks and bottle of water (yes, they might freeze, but if you have enough gas in your car to run the heater, they will thaw before you mummify).
  • Put in an emergency flashlight. LED lights are rechargeable and use very little energy (Like my brother). You may also want to put in some of those chemical light sticks…no heat but lots of light.
  • You’ll need an emergency first aid kit and while your at it make sure your car fire extinguisher is not out of date (or out of gas).
  • Put in a pair of durable work gloves and some plastic ponchos.
  • Some folks opt for a set of jumper cables, rope, matches, survival knife and whistle, tooth brush (toothpaste is optional), soap, moist towelettes, etc.)
  • How about some playing cards and something to keep the kids from pushing you over the edge.

Tip #4 Get a good nights rest

The U. S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drowsy driving is related to at least 100,000 motor-vehicle crashes and more than 1,500 deaths per year. About 71,000 drowsy-related crashes involve non-fatal injuries.

Tip #5 Buckle up!

Not just you but everyone in your vehicle. I cannot tell you how many people I responded to, as a paramedic, who would have survived if they had only stayed IN the car instead of being ejected FROM the car. COm’on folks … it’s physics!

Tip #6 Turn off your text messenger, cell phone and other distractions (wives are not included).

Yes, I know but it bears repeating. Particularly for the teenager behind the wheel. No text message is worth losing your life over!

I found this statistic interesting: Men are 4 times more likely to drink and drive, while women are more likely to text and drive. What does that tell you?

Tip #7 Practice defensive driving.

Not everyone is lucky enough to read this blog. So it is your responsibility, as I said…to keep from bending things (especially me). You are the only one who can create your own defensive space.

Tip #8 (Last one I promise) Leave early and take your time!

Especially if you are going to encounter bad weather. Remember what I said about the I-70 parking lot? There is NOTHING short of fire or leaking blood that is worth endangering yourself our those other folks in your vehicle. SO, don’t make a bad situation worse.

There are a great many other things to watch out for on your road to Grandma’s. Use common sense and preparation as your guide. Or just Google it.

So that is it for this week. I will be oputting in some more holiday safety awareness tips for home, decorating, cooking, and generally preparing for the bad weather to come.

We are stuck in our homes due to the Covid-coma, so let’s make the best of it and ensure a happy holiday season. Who knows if it becomes a habit it could spill over into extending your home and your life.

Be safe, be kind and lets make a difference!