For those of you dreaming of a white Christmas, your dreams may come true.
But be prepared for nightmarish traveling conditions as a result, warns AAA Mid-Atlantic.
According to AccuWeather.com, a major snowstorm is likely over a significant part of the country on Christmas. Computer models show the storm turning northward Saturday night (Christmas) into Monday. As a result, snow is expected to impact holiday travel along the I-95 corridor in the Northeast, both on the roads and in the skies.
AAA projects 25,000 Delawareans will be traveling 50 miles or more for the holidays; 93 percent by car.
“AAA advises motorists and air travelers to pay attention to weather forecasts, not only local forecasts, but also those of their destinations,” said Jim Lardear, Director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Be prepared for delays, pack your car and suitcases accordingly and be safe.”
AAA is reminding motorists to adhere to winter driving safety tips and to have a winter weather kit in their car.
Winter Weather Driving Kits should include:
Flares or reflective triangles
Flashlight with extra batteries
Bag of abrasive material such as cat litter
Cloth or paper towels
Cell phone with a full charge
Drivers are advised to heed the following tips:
Increase following distance – Increase your following distance to at least 10 seconds to allow yourself time in the event you or the car in front of you loses control. The stopping distance required on ice at zero degrees Fahrenheit is twice the amount required at thirty-two degrees.
Use extra caution on bridges and overpasses – Bridges and overpasses freeze first and melt last. Therefore, use extra caution as the roadway leading up to the bridge may appear fine but the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
Accelerate slowly – Traction is the greatest just before the wheel starts to spin, therefore accelerating slowly will increase your grip on the road.
Ease off the gas pedal – If your tires begin to slip or you begin to skid, ease off the gas pedal until you regain control of the vehicle.
Brake slowly and gently – Slamming on the brakes on ice covered roads dramatically increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle.
Control the skid – In the event you find your car is skidding, ease off of the accelerator or brake, and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
Never use cruise control – Cruise control is not recommended when ice is on the road as the driver should be in full control of the vehicle at every second.
Drive in cleared lanes – Changing lanes unnecessarily puts you at greater risk of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that may cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
In addition, for those traveling by air, it’s important to arrive to the airport early and be prepared for delays:
Arrive at the gate in plenty of time to visit the restroom just prior to boarding.
Pack your favorite snacks in your carry on and purchase bottled water near the gate to carry on as well. (Only liquids purchased after passing through TSA’s security check point may be carried on board the plane with some exceptions for baby formula and medical solutions etc.)
Dress comfortably and in layers – It may be hot or cold on board the plane, so layers will ensure that you can easily adjust to the temperature on the plane.
Pack carry-on luggage with your favorite “creature comforts” and essential toiletries as checked baggage may not be available if you are delayed – Travel pillow, toothpaste and brush, socks and extra undergarments, playing cards can all be lifesavers in the event you and your family are stranded for any reason.
Pack your own personal “entertainment” selection – If stranded on the runway you can immerse yourself in a great book, catch up on work, write a note to a friend, or plan your holiday shopping list. The possibilities are endless, but don’t just take a book for you, the kids will need one too. Card games, travel checkers, magazines, etc., can keep kids entertained for hours.
Attitude is everything – Try to embrace this time to relax and just think or take a nap. If you are physically comfortable and mentally prepared, your travels will be much less stressful.