The holidays usually consist of fun times with friends, family and lots of food. As you prepare the food and begin your holiday shopping, you may overlook one critical aspect—the travel.

Thousands of people hit the roads for the holiday season. No matter what holiday you celebrate, people all over the U.S. fly, drive, or otherwise commute home to be with their loved ones. While all holidays tend to bring heavy traffic, Thanksgiving Day is the busiest long-distance travel day nationwide.

Heavy road traffic makes for a tough driving situation, in areas where it usually snows for the holidays—like New York—the road conditions may make it more dangerous too.

Winter driving reminders

As the winter weather nears, drivers should pack some extra items into their vehicle. Anyone traveling in cold weather should pack warm clothes, a windshield scraper, hat, gloves and maybe some spare food too.

Drivers should also make sure their vehicle is equipped to handle cold temperatures.

  • Check tires to ensure they are correctly inflated and have good tread.
  • Ensure your brakes and windshield wipers are functioning properly.
  • Always keep your gas tank at least half full.
  • Don’t use cruise control if the roads are slippery.

Those traveling long distances should take extra precautions. First, check the weather before you begin your travels. If the road conditions look bad, consider an alternate route or time of travel. Make sure someone knows your travel plans, just in case.

If you do get stuck in the snow, here are some tips:

  • Stay with your vehicle and try to make it noticeable. Turn on your hazard lights and call for help.
  • If you are in a tight spot, try to conserve fuel. Cover up with blankets to stay warm until help reaches you.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear. Carbon monoxide can seep into your vehicle while it is running if your exhaust pipe is clogged.
  • Try to remain calm. Someone will find you, that’s why you told someone your travel plans.

In many cases, other vehicles may see you go into the ditch and call for help. If you are not injured and have cell phone service, you can call for help yourself.

What if another car hits you?

The number of travelers and poor weather conditions will increase the risk of an accident. You should call for help immediately if you were in an accident. If the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or was driving recklessly in poor weather conditions, you can seek legal assistance.

Hopefully, you will have safe holiday travels and a joyful holiday season.