As we come to this special time of the year, many of us will be traveling around the corner, across the state, or across...

As we come to this special time of the year, many of us will be traveling around the corner, across the state, or across the country. I want you to be prepared as you strike out on that holiday journey. Motor vehicle accidents account for many injuries and deaths each year. Some may say I am the safest driver on the road. What about the other drivers on the road? Others may be traveling on an airplane. Whatever the case, what is your travel plan?

Let’s start with those traveling by air. Give yourself plenty of time in the airport. The bigger and busier the airport, the longer it may take to get through security. If you have connecting flights, what will you do if one of your flights is delayed? You may say that you will just rebook another flight, but is your family ready to deal with the delay? You may be able to rent a car and drive that portion of the journey. The point to holiday travel is that as long as everything goes as planned, there is no issue. The problem comes when a monkey wrench is thrown into your travel plan; are you able to roll with it?

For those that will be traveling by road, are you ready for the trip? Is the car, SUV, minivan, or truck ready to make the trip? Check the fluids, the tire pressure, and the condition of the tires. Once the vehicle is ready to go, plan your route if you haven’t traveled it many times before. It is now time for you to leave. It is imperative that everyone puts on a seatbelt or is in a properly-secured car seat. Now that you are on the road, it is important that you drive defensively at all times. Thankfully, in most states, it is against the law to text or make phone calls, except for hands free, while driving. Take your time and take plenty of breaks. If you have a flat tire or your vehicle breaks down, be sure to get your vehicle in as safe a place as possible, especially if the problem occurs on an interstate. Many people have been hurt or killed trying to change a tire or work on their car on the side of an interstate highway.

You have arrived at your destination. Enjoy your time with your family and friends. Once your vacat comes to a close, it will be time to be mindful of your flight itinerary or to get your vehicle ready to make the trip home. Though I have not talked about it, weather could become a factor for some of you. Are you ready to drive in snow, ice, or even heavy rain? Slower is always safer when the weather turns bad. Always be prepared to have to stop in a place that was not in your plan and, more importantly, what will you do if you get stranded? Keeping your car full of gas is important, as is having blankets, food, and water with you.

I do hope that you have a happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. If travel is a part of your holiday, then do everything possible to make it a safe holiday journey. Travel woes may be a memory maker or the catalyst to a trip that you will deem a nightmare. The more prepared you are for the “what ifs” will go a long way toward helping you overcome the issue. I have been delayed at airports, missed connecting flights, and had a vehicle break down while out of town. You will survive all of it; just keep your family safe in the moment.