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How to prepare for Christmas holiday driving

AAA provides tips on how to plan for stress during holiday errands.
Credit: tchara - stock.adobe.com

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Driving around to do errands is about to become a lot busier as more people are out to do their holiday shopping. AAA is providing some tips for how to complete all of you errands from picking up a tree to getting gifts while avoiding stress.

One challenge of the holiday season is transporting Christmas trees. AAA research from 2019 revealed that 44% of Americans who planned on getting a real tree would use unsafe transportation methods. 

Unsecure trees could cause damage to cars, and improper securing could destroy paint and rubber seals in windows and doors.  

To prevent damage, AAA suggests the following: 

  • Use the correct vehicle - one equipped with a roof rack, the bed of a truck, SUV, van or minivan the tree can fit into
  • Use quality tires
  • Protect the tree - wrap the tree in netting before loading
  • Protect you vehicle - use a blanket to prevent scratches
  • Tie it down - secure the tree at the bottom, top and center
  • Give it a tug test - make sure the tree can withstand being pulled in all directions
  • Drive slowly and easily - take back roads because higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage the tree

Transporting trees is not the only issue people may run into.

"The holidays are especially stressful on drivers - everyone wants the perfect gift, and emotions can run high trying to find it," said Elizabeth Carey, director of public relations at AAA WCNY. "Minor frustrations in parking lots can turn deadly when drivers take their anger out on other drivers. It’s important to use caution and 2021 as safely as possible."

To help deal with road rage, AAA is suggesting drivers take the following precautions: 

  • Practice safe driving - proper following distance, use turn signals, tap horn, be considerate in parking lots, remain calm, remember roads may be slippery in winter weather
  • Properly deal with confrontation - don't respond with aggression, if you feel at risk, drive to a public place like a police station or hospital, and remain calm if confronted
  • Don't offend others
  • Be tolerant and forgiving
  • Do not respond

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