From all of us at Harris Garage, Happy Holidays! This season is one of the busiest for holiday travel. And with unpredictable weather and road conditions in Hayes, VA, and across the country, long road trips can be stressful.
Before you head out for your holiday road trip this year, bring your vehicle in for a pre-trip inspection. Our ASE Certified technicians will thoroughly inspect your vehicle, fix any issues before they lead to costly repairs, and give you the peace of mind to embark safely on the road.
Here are a few more tips to stay safe and avoid holiday traffic this season:
Plan ahead – If you have the flexibility, avoid traveling on the busiest days. When possible, avoid major highways during rush hour (7:00–10:00 am and 4:00–7:00 pm). Plan your route ahead of time, or use a GPS or smart phone to identify alternative routes.
Stay alert – When driving in heavy traffic or slick winter road conditions, the best thing you can do is pay attention. Avoid distractions like the radio, cell phones, makeup, etc. and focus on the road ahead of you. Staying alert will help you react to changing road conditions faster, stay safe, and avoid unnecessary congestion from distracted drivers.
Know your route – Familiarize yourself with the street names, exit numbers, and alternative routes before heading out. If you’re traveling on a congested highway and know your exit is coming up, think ahead and don’t wait until last opportunity to merge. Merging at the last minute creates bottlenecks, the cause of around 40% of traffic congestion.
Prevent breakdowns –Breakdowns and accidents cause nearly 25% of traffic jams. The best thing you can do for your vehicle before a road trip is to stop by for an inspection, and tend to any threatening issues. If you find yourself in an emergency on a high-traffic road, pull over quickly and completely to avoid further delaying traffic. And if you see an incident on the side of the road, avoid the impulse to slow and watch the commotion – this only further contributes to slow traffic.
Traffic apps – Before you head out, check your favorite source for traffic updates. Google maps now can show real-time traffic conditions, and there are a variety of apps and websites (as well as local radio stations) that provide current traffic reports. Tune-in before you head out, and plan alternative routes as needed.
Check the weather – Rain and snow can contribute to traffic delays. Consider the forecast (you can check at local and national conditions at weather.com) and plan accordingly. If it looks like rain or snow, plan extra time for your commute and check your tire condition before longer trips. Poor traction increases your risk of an accident on slick road).
Be prepared – Prior to long trips, make sure your emergency kit is stocked and packed in your vehicle. Check the tire pressure in your spare tire (you can’t replace a flat tire with a flat spare!) and make sure your jack, lug nut wrench, and tools are in place. A quick check will confirm that you are prepared to handle a flat tire or other auto emergency on the road.
Relax and be courteous – On roads with heavy traffic, a little patience goes a long way. While you may not be able to control the speed of traffic or attentiveness of other drivers, your attitude is in your control. Avoid road rage and be courteous to other drivers. If someone in the next lane is signaling to merge, slow to let them in. These small acts help you to avoid stress and unnecessary bottlenecks.
With a little planning and patience, you can make the best out of holiday traffic. Traffic is uncontrollable, but you can adjust your attention and attitude to avoid contributing to the problem.
For your pre-trip inspection, give us a call at (804) 642-2440 or schedule an appointment. Wishing you a happy holiday season, and safe travels this winter!