The month of December usually has several of the busiest travel days of the year. When you add that level of traffic volume with the element of unpredictable weather/road conditions like we tend to get here in Kansas, your holiday trips can get stressful in a hurry.
Before you embark upon your holiday trek this year, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle inspected by an ASE-certified technician to ensure it’s running at an optimal level and you won’t encounter any unexpected/unwanted breakdowns while you’re on the road. Once you’ve taken care of that, here are some tips on how to avoid, or at least better negotiate, traffic the next little while:
Plan Ahead. If your holiday plans can be flexible, take advantage of that flexibility and avoid the busier days and the busiest times for traffic congestion. Rush hour is typically 7-10am and 4-7pm in most cities so try to avoid the highways during these hours and use your best judgement when it comes to travel day selection. Your GPS will usually factor in traffic conditions when planning out your route as well so pay attention to your device’s advice in this department.
Stay Alert. When you’re dealing with heavy traffic in addition to iffy road conditions, paying close attention to your surroundings is absolutely the best course of action you can take. Keep your eyes on the road – cell phones, mp3 players, lipstick, tablets, etc. should be out of reach and out of site. The more alert you are while driving the better you’ll be able to react to fluctuating road conditions and avoid unnecessary congestion caused by distracted drivers.
Know Your Route. Familiarity breeds comfort which will make you a better driver and make your trip smoother. If you memorize the names of the roads, exits and such you’ll be encountering on your trek, you’ll be able to anticipate when to changes lanes in advance and avoid getting turned around – a blunder made all the worse when dealing with heavy traffic. Late-merging vehicles are responsible for bottlenecks, which are in turn responsible for approximately 40 pct. of all traffic congestion.
Check the Weather. This one goes without saying – heavy snow and heavy traffic tend to go hand in hand so be sure to monitor your local forecast before embarking upon a road trip. Radio/TV news and the internet (Weather.com) are the best resources to monitor the meteorological elements heading your way. If precipitation of any kind is on the horizon, give yourself extra time to get to/from your destination as traction is liable to be sub par on the roads.
Be Prepared. Before you head out on your trip, double check to ensure that your vehicle’s emergency kit is fully-stocked, your jack/ wrench are where they’re supposed to be and your spare tire is in good shape. In the event of an emergency you won’t want to be without the tools you need!
Serenity Now! When dealing with heavy winter traffic, try to be patient and remain as calm as possible. While bad road conditions and traffic congestion can be beyond frustrating, try to stay calm since getting flustered will only serve to exasperate the situation. Road rage is a major problem during the holidays, so try to keep the Christmas Spirit with you when you’re behind the wheel in slow-moving traffic!
Follow these tips and your holiday travel plans should go a little more smoothly!