Holiday travel can be a better experience by planning ahead, according to the SC Highway Patrol. Here are some travel tips for motorists as we head into the busy holiday season.
Prepare in Advance of Travel:
• Have your vehicle checked for the following: brakes, battery, fluid levels, tire pressure, light bulbs and any parts that need regular maintenance.
• Plan your route. Do you have maps in case there are detours? Check traffic cameras, detours and road conditions/closures at the SC Department of Transportation’s website www.dot.state.sc.us.
• Consult the SC Highway Patrol’s website at www.schp.org for Real Time traffic information by county.
• The Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after are when you can expect the most traffic. Consider changing your travel dates if you have any flexibility.
• Are you prepared for roadway emergencies? Bring along a first-aid kit, flashlight, blankets, drinking water and snacks, flares, jumper cables and an ice scraper.
• Make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you leave.
• If your vehicle breaks down on the roadway or you have a minor collision, it is vitally important (and South Carolina law) to remove your vehicle from the flow of traffic and off the roadway, if at all possible.
• Never try to get out of your vehicle in the flow of traffic and push the vehicle or look under the hood.
• If you are changing a tire, be mindful of the traffic around you and ensure the vehicle is well off the roadway.
• If you are traveling into other states where you are unfamiliar with the roadways, pay close attention to speed limit and other roadway signs giving you instructions.
• Be patient. Do not tail gate. Keep a safe following distance and refuse to engage in aggressive/combative driving.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Family:
• Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before travelling.
• The Highway Patrol does not recommend driving all night to avoid traffic. Most people will not get the extra sleep in advance of their trip and risk extreme fatigue. Also, drunken driving collisions are greater during the nighttime and early morning hours.
• Try to save rest room/stretching breaks for designated rest areas. If you must stop at a convenience store or other area, be especially careful of your surroundings.
• Do not leave purses, wallets or other belongings visible in the vehicle. Lock your vehicle while you are in it and out.
• Take the keys and lock your vehicle while pumping gas.
• Never leave children in an unattended vehicle.
• Double check children’s car seats. Make sure the seat is attached tightly to the vehicle seat and the harness and straps are on tightly and properly.
• Be aware of the sedating effects of a heavy meal. It is best to avoid a long trip right after your Thanksgiving meal. If you have to travel, try to get in a nap first.