The holidays have always been regarded as one of the most anticipated times of the year, when friends and family reunite for food, fun, and festivities. But the Bureau of Transportation Statistics also recognizes this time of the year as one of the busiest and most overwhelming, with 53% of Thanksgiving trips and 43% of Christmas/New Year trips accounting for visiting friends and family.
The Bureau adds that the holiday seasons experience a surge in long-distance travels, with 91% of them being made with a personal vehicle. As you get ready for the peak of travelling season, we here at Joe’s Auto Parks want you to get to your destinations confidently knowing that your car is sound and prepared for anything. No matter how you make your way home for the holidays, take this helpful information into consideration and travel safely and merrily.
MAKING THE ENTIRE TRIP WITH YOUR CAR?
The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that long-distance travels increase by 54% during the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period and by 23% for the Christmas/New Year period. There are many potential hazards that could arise during a long car ride, so be sure to take precaution and keep these tips in mind.
1. CHECK YOUR ESSENTIALS
There are a multitude of parts to your car that need your attention, and it can be difficult to track them all before heading out for a big trip. Take 10-15 minutes to check these key components in your driveway before your trip, and give yourself the time to take care of them if necessary and avoid any hazards along the way.
Tires: Check the air pressure and inspect for cosmetic damages that could signal an internal problem or a blowout. Carecare.org states that tires lose an average of 1-2 psi per month, which could contribute to lower gas mileage and decreased performance.
Lights & Windshield Wipers: Make sure that you can see and be seen on the road. Replace worn wipers on the windshield and the rear window to ensure a clear view, especially on the more treacherous nights ridden with snow or rain. Clean all of your lights—including headlights, tail lights, and signal lights. As Carecare.org notes, dirt, debris, and marks can “dim operational lights from being seen by others”, so quickly wipe these areas with a paper towel or rag to ensure optimal visibility while you’re on the road. And make sure your headlights are aimed properly to avoid a blinding encounter and to better illuminate your view.
Brakes & Battery: Pay special attention to your brakes and battery, as they (literally) make your car stop and go. Carcare.org states that your car is trying to tell you something if you can hear your brakes screeching or see the brake light on, so take it in for a service and optimize your car’s main safety feature. Additionally, car
2. PLAN YOUR TRIP
One of the best ways to avoid hazards along your holiday travel route is to plan ahead. Be cognizant of the potential problems that may arise and prepare a first-aid kit, jump cables, and a jack for your car. Equip yourself with the power of knowledge: review the directions and check the weather along your route to familiarize yourself with what’s ahead. And with some insight from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, schedule your trips with these travel patterns in mind:
Short Drives: For those traveling between 50 and 99 miles (44 percent of personal vehicle trips), more travel on Thursday than Wednesday, and more return on Saturday than Sunday.
Long Hauls: For those traveling at least 100 miles away (56 percent of personal vehicle trips), trips are spread almost equally throughout the Wednesday through Sunday travel period.
3. GET PLENTY OF REST BEFOREHAND
Reserve your energy for a long drive and rest before you head out. The National Sleep Foundation states that drowsy driving can be just as dangerous and can have similar effects as driving drunk: “Being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive—say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep—it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10.” Alternate drivers to offset your chances of falling asleep and to give yourself a break; if that’s not possible and you find yourself fatigued behind the wheel, pull over at the nearest safe are or rest stop to take a break. Do yourself the due diligence and keep yourself (and every one on the road) safe.
JUST DRIVING A SHORT WAY?
Sometimes, your car may only be a part of your trip for a brief time. You might need to get to an airport, bus terminal, or train station to make the extended leg of your journey, but you can ensure an even more stress-free trip when you take care of the following before you leave:
1. LOCK YOUR DOORS AND CLOSE ALL WINDOWS
Car theft is a serious problem more commonly found in metropolitan cities, with LAPD citing that about 300,000 vehicles are stolen every year. Furthermore, FBI crime statistics as reported by LAPD state that a car is stolen every 23 seconds and an experienced car thief can steal the average car in less than a minute. The last thing you need after an overwhelming holiday trip is to find your car missing from where you left it. Lock your doors and close all of your windows before you leave your car. Be especially aware of any items in plain sight—place them in the trunk instead and hide them from inquisitive eyes. To take extra precautionary measures, invest in a mechanical lock for your steering wheel.
2. PREPARE FOR YOUR RETURN
Avoid potential inconveniences on the way home; once you return from a trip, surely, all you’ll be thinking about is making it back to your abode. So before you leave, set yourself up for a seamless homecoming: fill up your tank so that you don’t have to stop by a gas station; clean your car inside to make space for your luggage, and outside to keep your view clean on the way home; and a spare charger to make the necessary calls or text messages to announce your safe arrival.
3. CHOOSE JOE’S OR WALLYPARK FOR YOUR AIRPORT PARKING NEEDS
If you need to drive to LAX to catch a flight, park with us and leave all of your car worries behind! Our nearby facilities, Joe’s Airport Parking and WallyPark, boast plenty of safe parking spaces within a mile and a half from LAX, and offer 24-hour curbside shuttles to and from the airport. Both Joe’s Airport Parking and WallyPark are well equipped for your valet, covered, or outdoor parking needs, with convenient amenities and services to help you feel more at home and make your wait time pass more swiftly.
Not to mention, we bring you premier customer service, security, and competitive pricing to make your travel experience a breeze.
We hope you keep these tips in mind as you embark on your trip—from all of us to you, we wish you safe and happy travels!