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Safe Traveling

Many will travel great distances to see family, friends, and others they love during the holidays. While traveling, it’s important to remember there are many safety precautions you can take in order to ensure the best trip possible.

Traveling by car
According to Robert McCool, project manager of the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Kentucky, you should first take your car to a mechanic for a full inspection. Next, make sure to take along directions and a map. It’s very important to know the route. Also, watch the weather a few days in advance of traveling. Make proper adjustments to the route to avoid a potential delay. Finally, make sure you are well-rested.

“Driving while sleepy can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated,” says McCool.

Cell phones should be used only for emergencies while driving. McCool says to be prepared that the phone may not work in some places, so don’t rely on them to summon emergency assistance quickly. He also suggests stocking your vehicle with emergency and comfort supplies, like blankets, a first-aid kit, and snacks in case of long delays.

If your car breaks down, get off the roadway if possible. Turn on the emergency flashers, but McCool warns that this can drain the car battery, leaving no power for important functions.

“A good idea is to bring along a battery-powered emergency light that can be attached to the top of the vehicle with a magnet.”

Raise the hood and notify police.

Traveling by air
When traveling out of the state, or especially out of the country, it’s a good idea to check the laws of your destination spot to make sure everything you plan to take along is legal to possess at your destination or the stops along the way. Also, check the airline regulations and Department of Homeland Security regulations carefully if you plan to fly. This will help ensure that any items that are carried on or checked in your baggage are both legal and permitted on the aircraft.

McCool suggests not wrapping your holiday presents if you plan to fly.

Remember your health
Regardless of the way you travel, if medication is taken regularly, it’s important to take more with you than what might seem necessary.

“Should you find yourself delayed somewhere, it may not be easy to obtain more medication,” says McCool.

McCool suggests that if you are traveling by air, it is best to carry medications in a carry-on bag. Checked luggage may become lost, stolen, or delayed.

Another key suggestion is to carry the name and contact information of a primary care physician.

Finally, McCool suggests leaving an itinerary and contact information with a friend or relative. Make sure this person knows where you will be should someone need to contact you during an emergency.

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