We are coming in to the most chaotic season of the year – which makes it one of the most dangerous times to travel. Here’s a quick checklist to keep your family safe – and keep your sanity – this holiday season.
- Stay off facebook and Twitter, or at least be smart about sharing your plans and photos. It’s not a good idea to post that you’re going out of town or you’ll be visiting someone. Remember, people other than your friends can easily see what you post.
- Do a home security check. Are your doors and windows locked? Do you have a light timer set, or can you leave a couple of lights on? Have you stopped the mail and newspaper, or can you have a neighbor pick them up? Before you leave, do a walk-through to make sure no appliances are left on, and your electronics are unplugged.
- Get your car checked. This is the most basic but often overlooked element to winter driving. Make sure your tires are winter ready and properly inflated, and that your fluids are topped off. Take it to an auto shop if you need to, but don’t skip this step.
- Be prepared for a change in course. Do you know your route? It’s very easy to become reliant on a phone or GPS to guide you, but you can’t look at a map and the road at the same time. Also, if you run in to construction, road closings or traffic jams, you’ll be ready to drive an alternate route.
- Pack a winter safety kit for the car. Have the essentials for a safe road trip? The Red Cross has an emergency preparedness kit, but every vehicle should have these items.
- Cell phone and car charger
- Ice scraper
- Jumper cables
- Blanket, hat and gloves
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Roadside flares and matches
- First Aid kit
- Remember the basics of driving in bad weather. Here in Oregon, drivers will have to contend with particularly rainy driving conditions or icy conditions. Spend a minute reviewing the basics to be a safer driver this year.
- Confirm your trip. There are fewer flights this year and they’re more expensive, so it may be harder to fly stand-by. Check in for your flight, and make sure your plane is on time before you leave for the airport.
- Keep a copy of your passport or driver’s license, plus your flight information, in a safe place in case the originals get lost.
- Put address tags on your luggage – inside AND outside. Use your work address or covered tags on the exterior.
- Flying with kids? Put all essential items in your carry-on bag including food, medication, diapers, and safe toys (nothing sharp, heavy, or easily broken). TSA has some modified security procedures for children, which should mean an easier experience at security.
- Pay attention to the flight attendants, the preflight briefing, and who is around you in the airport and on the plane.
- Wash your hands – a lot. Buses, trains and planes are incubators for germs, and flu season has started.
Whatever your plans, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.