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Tips for staying safe on roads

The holidays are a time of good cheer, but they can also be a time for battling traffic and inclement weather all the way to the homes of your loved ones.

Staying safe should be a top priority for all travelers, so Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) recommends taking a few precautions before hitting the road this holiday season.

Every year, holiday travelers take to the skies and hit the rails, but most hit the road. In 2012, AAA estimated that 93 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles over the holidays – 90 percent of which drove.

“Because of increased traffic and the possibility of wintry conditions, staying safe on the roads over the holidays requires additional precautions,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Make sure your car is in good shape and that you’re prepared for bad weather. While you’re driving, put down your cellphone and focus on the road ahead.”

BBB recommends taking the following steps for safe travel this holiday season:

  • Create a car safety kit – Holiday driving often includes the threat of dangerous winter weather. Snow and ice can lead to accidents, car troubles, long delays and road closures. You can be ready for bad weather by creating your own safety kit. Basics for the kit include a blanket, flashlight with extra batteries, radio, first aid kit, jumper cables, non-perishable foods like granola bars and nuts, bottled water, an ice scraper and warm gloves.
  • Get a tune-up – If your car is due for a tune-up, take it in before making that long haul. At the very least, check the car’s fluid levels, wipers and tire pressure. Check the condition of your tires and, if you plan on driving through serious winter weather, consider getting snow tires.
  • Take the BBB with you – When you’re away from home or in the midst of an emergency, it’s hard to know which businesses – such as tow trucks and locksmiths – you can trust. The good news is that free BBB Business Reviews are optimized for smartphones. Now you can easily find businesses you can trust when you’re on the go and away from your computer by visiting
  • Start early and slow down – The best way to fight holiday traffic is to give yourself some extra time to make the trip, and don’t speed. Also, if you’re caught speeding by law enforcement, that adds travel time and puts a dent in your holiday budget.
  • Drop the distractions – A lot of tragic and unnecessary accidents take place when people are talking on their cellphone or sending text messages. When you’re behind the wheel, don’t text and drive. Pull into a rest area or a service station before sending a text message or making a call on your cellphone.

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