10 tips for safe holiday driving

1.    Reduce your Chances of Dangerous Drowsy Driving.   Get at least seven to nine hours sleep the night before your trip. If you become fatigued, stopping every two hours and stretching or walking around can recharge and revitalize your inactive body.

2.    Stay on the Road Rather Than On the Side of It.  Check your vehicle's tire pressure, oil level, battery, windshield wipers, etc. before traveling any great distance.  While on the road, be sure your vehicle always has plenty of gas especially as some service stations my have limited holiday hours.  Your holiday memory should be of you schussing the slopes, not schlepping the gas can!

3.    Be A Defensive Driver. This applies to both longer trips where you might be traveling to a holiday destination as well as shorter trips to the mall.  Safety technologies in certain vehicles can help drivers avoid potentially dangerous crash situations by using radar to detect  other vehicles.  Ford is now equipping its vehicles with technology that warns the driver with a combination of visual and audio alerts on both highways and in parking lots.

4.    Pack Emergency Equipment. Whether heading to the mall or the slopes, don't forget to pack an emergency kit that includes first aid items, flashlights, water, warm blankets, etc.

5.    Don't be Caught off Guard By Bad Weather. If you're traveling to higher elevations where sudden snow storms can occur, or to the coastline where fog can quickly set it, be sure to check the weather before heading out.  In snowier areas where roads can get slick, newer vehicles, such as the 2011 Ford Explorer, are actually equipped with terrain management systems that provide appropriate traction for any driving conditions.  Some Ford vehicles also feature SIRIUS TravelLink, which allows people to check real-time weather data, five-day forecasts, detailed storm cell information as well as local wind speeds and even ski resort conditions!

6.    Avoid Distractions. If you need to communicate with family and friends while driving, use a hands-free headset.  Even better, if your vehicle is equipped with a built-in hands-free mobile phone system, use it.  Some manufacturers, like Ford, have even equipped their vehicles with smart technology features that allow you to use voice commands to make calls, check the weather, change your music selection, and more.

7.    Make it a "Green" Roadtrip.   If you'll be away for a few days, don't forget to turn off your home thermostat and if you need to leave some lights on, be sure to put them on a timer.  Bring reusable water bottles for the trip so you don't have to buy bottles of water when enroute. To save fuel, accelerate gradually and use cruise control when possible.  Of course, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle is your best defense for maintaining your "green" while on the road.  Ford has developed one of the most fuel-friendly fleets in the industry and has incorporated many green elements into interiors such as soy foam seats and recycled materials.

8.    Heading to Snow Country? Carrying a bag of cat litter in your trunk provides great traction when sprinkled in the path of a spinning tire. If you find yourself caught without an ice scraper, a plastic card, like a credit card, can be used to do the work.  Plan ahead and if an ice storm is imminent, cover your windshield with an old blanket or some trash bags that you can peel off in the morning.

9.    Keep the Carpet Clean and Dry.  If you're in an area with lots of snow, place disposable diapers or puppy mats under the floor mats of your car to absorb melting snow and ice.

10.  The Anti-Boredom Kit.  Traveling with youngsters is always a challenge.  Being in a car for hours on end can seem like emprisonment – for adults and kids alike.  If you're sick of hearing the "are we there yet?" chorus, then be prepared with plenty of games, MP3 players, movies, and more.  In fact, today's vehicles offer a variety of options for keeping your sanity when traveling with kids.  Ford's smart technology even includes daily horoscopes, sports, and news delivered via voice command!  Safe and smart.  That's the best way to travel this holiday season.

Source: Ford Motor Company