Factor in Safety in Your Holiday Travels

The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day are arguably the busiest of the year. Families are planning trips to visit relatives, searching for thoughtful gifts, preparing special meals and many other tasks to make the holidays the most wonderful time of the year.

In these fast-paced weeks, it’s easy to move so quickly that we forget some safety basics. For me, I am a diligent planner around holiday meals. I plan the annual potluck with my family, and prepare some of my signature dishes for the occasion. Every year, I make sure I have all of the right ingredients long before the last-minute grocery shoppers pack the stores and bake my signature broccoli and cheese casserole to perfection.

Last year, I even timed it so that the dish would still be piping hot once I reached my aunt’s house for the family dinner. Well, on the drive over, I didn’t plan for a car in front of me to slide on ice, forcing me to brake quickly to avoid a collision, causing my  broccoli and cheese casserole to coat the entire front seat of my car. That wasn’t in the plan.

An easy lesson to learn from my experience is to make sure to properly place items (especially foods that can scald!) in the trunk of a vehicle to avoid potential injury and also distraction from the road. One friend had a great idea to put hot dishes in a cardboard box to keep it secure in the trunk. Just one distracted moment can cause far greater harm than a ruined meal. Taking a moment to remember simple safety tips can help keep your holidays safe and your memories joyous and fun.

As you plan the holidays, Safe Kids Worldwide and General Motors want to remind you of Seven Tips for Safe Holiday Travel:

  • Remember to buckle up every ride, every time, whether it’s the long trip to visit family or around the block to the mall. 
  • Shopping center parking lots are busier during the holidays. Watch out for distracted pedestrians and drivers who may not be paying attention to you, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
  • For parents of teens, remind them to be extra alert during this holiday season, when conditions are more challenging even for experienced drivers.
  • Commit to keeping your electronics out of your hand. No text message or playlist is worth the risk.
  • If you are headed to a party and plan to drink alcohol, designate a driver or use a car service to make sure you get home safely.
  • Expect the unexpected. You never know when you have to stop abruptly, so keep hot foods, large gifts and anything that can become a projectile in the trunk.
  • Remember when traveling in large groups, all vehicle occupants need their own seat belt or car seat, even for short rides.