More than 102 million Americans will hit the open road between Saturday, December 22 and Tuesday, January 1. That includes 1.9 million Arizonans. Congested highways, winter storms (depending on your destination), and fellow drivers who are more ‘Scrooge’ than ‘Cratchit’ can make driving during this time increasingly challenging. If journeying to visit with family and friends is part of your end-year holiday celebrations, then you’ll want to follow these helpful tips for safe holiday travels.
Ditch Cloudy Headlights
Aging headlights, particularly those with cloudy or yellowed lenses are 80 percent less effective at illuminating roadways than new headlights, according to recent research from AAA. The dangers of nighttime – which comes earlier during the winter – driving are thus exacerbated. The leading cause for this deterioration is damaging UV rays.
“Driving at night with headlights the produce only 20 percent of the light they did when new, which is already subpar, is a risk drivers shouldn’t take,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations. “Especially when there are convenient and inexpensive solutions that dramatically improve lighting performance.”
To restore output to 100 percent, AAA suggests investing in new headlights, using original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. This method will not produce glare, which can be blinding, for oncoming traffic. Another option, although not nearly as effective, is professional or DIY headlight lens restoration.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you’re driving three or 3,000 miles this holiday season, it is important to get a good night’s sleep. Driving while drowsy slows your reaction time, decreases awareness, and impairs your judgement. The correct way to avoid this is to prioritize seven to nine hours of sleep each night! For longer trips, experts strongly encourage scheduling a break every two hours or 100 miles, whichever comes first. Additional recommendations include traveling at times when you’re normally awake and taking turns driving, if traveling with another driver, as well as avoiding anything that can compound sleepiness.
Check Your Maintenance List Twice
Routine maintenance is key to preventing breakdowns. For optimum vehicle performance, it is necessary to check and top off your car’s fluid levels, including: Coolant, brakes, transmission, oil, power steering, and windshield washer. Do this once a month and before long trips. Regular oil changes and tire rotations are also advised. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended intervals. You should also check your tire pressure and tread. The recommended inflation pressures for your car’s tires can be found on a decal attached to the driver’s door jamb. Tread should exceed 4/32” for continued use. If your car’s tires are below that, then it’s time to start shopping for new tires.
Pack a Winter Emergency Road Kit
Keep a well-stocked winter emergency kit in the trunk of your car. You can purchase a pre-made kit or put together your own. Either way, it should include an ice scraper, jumper cables, duct tape, a car jack, a cellphone charger, and a First Aid Kit. Pack enough warm clothes, non-perishable food, bottled water, and blankets for each person traveling with you. If you’ll be traveling to the snow, experts suggest adding chains, a snow shovel, and sand/salt to your kit. Also, don’t forget to check the condition of your spare tire, ensuring it’s properly inflated and not past its expiration date.
L&L Asphalt would like to wish you and yours Happy Holidays and Joyful New Year! We would also like to wish you safe holiday travels. A woman-owned asphalt and repair services company, L&L Asphalt has been awarded many projects by general contractors and municipalities. Our services include dust abatement management programs, permanent asphalt replacement, street widening, asphalt overlays, and more.