Snow is expected to impact holiday travel along the I-95 corridor in the Northeast, both on the roads and in the skies.
For those dreaming of a white Christmas, your dreams are likely to come true this year as a major storm blankets a significant part of the country with snow. Computer models show the storm turning northward Saturday night (Christmas Day) into Monday, according to AccuWeather.com. 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.
“With over 25,000 Delawareans traveling 50 miles or more for the holidays, and 93 percent of travelers going by car, it’s likely many of these folks will be impacted in some way by the impending storm,” said Jim Lardear, director of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA advises motorists and air travelers to pay attention to weather forecasts, not only local forecasts, but also those of their destination(s). Be prepared for delays, pack your car and suitcases accordingly and be safe.”
Lardear also notes that prior to the formation of this storm, it was estimated that AAA would come to the rescue of 1.4 million stranded motorists during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday peak driving period.
“With the forecast calling for a white Christmas in many parts of the country, coupled with nine out of 10 holiday travelers going by car, we expect to be busy coming to the aid of stranded motorists to help with battery replacements, jump starts, locked cars, tows or helping extricate cars from the snow,” Lardear said.
AAA Mid-Atlantic advises motorists to be prepared and adhere to winter driving safety tips. Knowing how to drive properly on slick roads makes all the difference in the world when precipitation starts to fall. AAA urges motorists to have a winter weather kit in their car which can not only help to free the vehicle which may be stuck in the snow, but also to warn other motorists and keep the driver and passengers safe and warm.
Winter Weather Driving Kits should include:
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 32 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:
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.