Holiday driving tips for connected cars, kids, safety, tires & etiquette

snowtirewoodsThose trips to Grandma’s house can be stressful over the holidays. You also want to make sure that the little tykes and cars are safe for your trips. Toyota offers safety tips for buckling up. Bridgestone gives tips for tires. Ford Motor Company and The Emily Post Institute offer etiquette tips for a friendlier road trip experience. An interesting point to consider for connected car owners is that you may lose a connection therefore it helps to download your music or keep it on a backup drive.

According to an online survey conducted by Harris Poll in October 2015, Americans log a combined national average of 25 billion miles on the road to visit family and spend a combined average of $52 billion on travel during the holiday season. Although many will be taking holiday road trips, only a quarter (26 percent) of drivers in Snowbelt states already have installed or plan to install winter tires this year.

According to AAA, nearly 42 million Americans will take a holiday road trip this Thanksgiving. Millions more will hit the road between then and the New Year.

Child Safety should come first an follow these tips:

  • Older generations may have had different approaches to keeping kids safe in cars. If relatives help chauffer children, make sure everyone understands the latest practices for car seats, booster seats and seat belts.
  • You ought to know where your seat came from. It may be tempting to accept a used car seat, but this is one item that should never be re-gifted for safety. You can’t necessarily know the history of the seat and a past crash or even normal wear-and-tear may have compromised its ability to protect your little one.
  • Seats have a self life. When you clean out your refrigerator after Thanksgiving, check the expiration date on your car seat too.
  • Don’t forget about booster seats for your car – all year round.  Most critically, the lap belt needs lay on the top of the thighs not the abdomen.

Winter Nervous Land?

For drivers to be secure they should check their tires to be ready for winter notes Bridgestone.  Although they’re planning to drive 147 miles on average to different family members’ homes this holiday season, many Americans are troubled by the freezing temperatures and treacherous driving conditions that accompany the start of winter. Seventy-one percent of drivers admit they are nervous to drive when it’s icy, and many also are nervous to drive during heavy fog (52 percent), heavy rain (48 percent), sleet (47 percent) and snow (45 percent). In fact, when Americans were asked what they dislike in general about the winter season, driving issues topped the list, specifically icy roads (59 percent) and other drivers who drive dangerously (55 percent). Other major dislikes include heating bills (47 percent), removing snow and ice from their vehicle (43 percent), and even cold feet (38 percent).

Bridgestone encourages drivers to remember the four B’s – battery, brakes, blades and Blizzak winter tires. The Blizzak WS80 is Bridgestone’s Studless Ice & Snow winter tire developed for compact, coupe, sedan and minivan drivers looking to power through winter with confident control. When winter driving conditions are at their worst, Bridgestone’s Blizzak WS80 winter tires are designed to be at their best.

You Got This, Thank You Blizzak Tires
Bridgestone suggests that it’s a good idea to prepare vehicles to take on challenging winter driving conditions. Winter tires are built specially to give drivers better grip, stopping power and more control in snow, slush and ice. The thin layer of water on the road from ice or melting snow can be very dangerous, and winter tires are designed to clear that icy water and grip the road.

Etiquette Tips

drive-by-etiquettePassengers should remember that first and foremost, drivers are hosts. You wouldn’t invite family and friends to your home without planning for their comfort and entertainment, so why get behind the wheel without thinking through the drive? With these tips in mind, modern-day drivers are sure to experience comfortable and enjoyable travel.

Today, driver chivalry means unlocking the door before Aunt Ethel even tries to open it, or getting the heat (and even the heated seats) going before Grandma buckles up for a chilly trip to Christmas dinner.

To put your passengers at ease give them a tour to of the car help them feel more at home. Let passengers know about the controls they have for entertainment systems, seats and windows. Identify power sources for phones and electronics, like the smart-charging USB ports in the rear of the vehicle that provide easy access. Make sure all of your passengers have what they need before your trip begins.
When stuck in dreaded Thanksgiving traffic, a little preparation goes a long way toward preventing boredom. Before hopping behind the wheel, curate your upcoming road trip with podcasts, audiobooks, TED Talks – even online classes. Traveling with pals to your annual Friendsgiving gathering? Build a Spotify playlist from your senior year, suggest a series, or learn something about your destination together. With in-car entertainment and communication systems like Ford SYNC 3, it’s easier than ever to bring a world of content along for the ride.
If the driver is host, the passenger is honored guest. You wouldn’t show up to your Chanukah host’s home empty-handed, so don’t forget the same courtesy for your driver. To thank him or her for bearing the stress of high-pressure holiday driving, lighten the load by taking on some responsibilities of your own. Offer to help pay for gas, fetch snacks and drinks, and pack the car with suitcases and holiday gifts.

Communication is key in relationships, both on and off the road. Effective preparation goes hand-in-hand with clear communication – between driver, passengers and their vehicles. Know how to communicate on the road to ensure you and your crew arrive safely and in harmony.

If you’re lucky enough to be sitting in the front passenger seat on a long journey, assist your driver through helpful communication. Be sure to stay alert and keep an eye out for road signs. (Do try to refrain from refreshing your Instagram feed every five seconds.) Above all, avoid all comments on how your chauffeur is driving – no one likes a back seat driver, especially when road conditions turn stressful!

Ford studies show Americans are conflicted on in-car entertainment – while three in five drivers think passengers should weigh in, just as many say the one behind the wheel should have the final say when it comes to entertainment. We all want to hear our favorite karaoke number on a long road trip, but a distracted driver is a safety hazard. As a polite passenger, defer to your chauffeur and offer to play DJ or navigate the control screen to make her job easier. If the kids in the back have their own entertainment setup, make sure they keep “Christmas Vacation” at a noise level that doesn’t surpass the cue to “Turn right in 300 feet.”

Make sure in-car innovations serve to enhance, not hinder, your enjoyment of holiday travel.

When traveling through remote areas on the way to your holiday celebration, you might – gasp – lose cell reception. Know your car’s navigation system capabilities, do a brief review of the major roads you’ll be traveling ahead of time, and keep actual maps in the car – ensuring you have a backup plan if connectivity goes out. Download a GB or two of your favorite music to help get through those pesky “no streaming available” zones, keeping passengers calm, cool and collected – no matter what the journey brings.

To diffuse tension, call on in-car features to lighten the mood. From massaging seats, to a literal change of tune on the radio, your car’s systems can help ensure the continued comfort of your passenger-guests.

Ford goes further my suggesting drivers be kind, respect the lines by using parking technology and not taking up extra spaces in the mall parking lots.