One of the most-loved parts of the holiday season is driving around to see the changing leaves, fresh snow up in the mountains, and to visit loved ones for holiday get-togethers. And while this holiday season is proving to be much different than years previous, some of us are still choosing to have socially-distanced get-togethers with loved ones both local and out of town. No matter how you are celebrating the holidays this year, you’re sure to see more traffic on the roads than usual. In the spirit of the season, we’ve put together this list of seven driving tips to help you stay safe on the road no matter where you holiday travels take you.

Plan Ahead

Before you start your trip, make sure your vehicle is in good shape for travel, as this is especially important if you hit any inclement weather. This is as easy as making sure you’re up-to-date on your regular maintenance tasks, which we can check for you at our Service Center! Make sure to check the forecast before you leave your home so you’re prepared for the weather no matter where you are going. It is also helpful to map the route to your destination in advance, and to be prepared for traffic delays. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.

Stay Alert

Between work, school, extra-curricular activities, holiday shopping, and anything else you and your family may have on your plate, it’s easy to be a little worn out during the holidays. Make sure you’re always well-rested before taking any extra long drives, so that you’re always aware of what’s going on around you on the road.

Watch Your Speed

Give yourself plenty of time and distance to react to the traffic around you. Speeding only increases your chances of becoming involved in an accident, especially when icy or wet roads are a concern.

Drive Defensively

Increased holiday traffic can be frustrating, but you don’t have to let other drivers bother you. Allow aggressive or speeding drivers to go around you rather than speeding up to match them on the road.

Don’t Drive Impaired

If you plan to drink, don’t plan to drive. Make sure you have a designated driver before any holiday party where you plan to drink alcohol, have an idea of what you should leave for home, and stick to the plan.

Avoid Distractions

It’s never a good idea to use your cell phone while you’re driving, but this is especially true during the holiday season. With all of the extra difficulties that holiday driving can add, the added distraction of answering your phone or checking a message can be very risky. Keep your phone down and your eyes on the road to avoid any accidents.

Be Prepared for an Emergency

You never know when you might have an accident or a breakdown, and if you’re traveling somewhere that has ice or snow, this can be an even more difficult situation to deal with. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle, as well as your cell phone, a charger, and contact information for a roadside assistance company.