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AAA's top tips for holiday travelers

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Thu, Dec 21st 2017 02:00 pm
Simple steps to avoid holiday headaches
Editorial by AAA of Western and Central New York
With last-minute shoppers and anxious travelers, the holidays can get very hectic. AAA Western and Central New York has some tips to keep things running smoothly.
If you're traveling for the holidays this year, the first thing to pack is your patience. Nationally, AAA's projection of 107.3 million year-end holiday travelers will set a new record. Combine that with last-minute shoppers and the roads and parking lots will be extremely congested. With Christmas and New Year's Day falling on Mondays, expect higher-than-normal travel volume on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before.
AAA Top Parking Lot Tips: With Christmas falling on a Monday, expect parking lots at malls and grocery stores to be jam-packed this weekend (and next week for returns!). With 80 percent of drivers admitting to road rage at least once in a given year, heed this advice.
  • Avoid aggression! Approximately 8 million U.S. drivers admit to extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.
  • Don't offend! Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be tolerant and forgiving! The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it's not personal.
  • Do not respond! Avoid eye contact, don't make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and call 911 if needed.
AAA Top Airline Tips: With more than 6 million people traveling by air, a little planning goes a long way.
  • Have items handy! Be prepared to remove toiletries and electronic devices from your carry-on luggage for security screening.
  • Decorate your luggage! If everyone is traveling with black/grey/blue luggage, it might be hard to spot yours on the belt, or someone might accidentally take yours. Use brightly colored ribbons or decorative tapes. AAA also sells tags and pompoms.
  • Check with your airline! Check flight status or set an alert from your airline to let you know if your flight is on time.
  • Check and double-check your itinerary! You wouldn't believe how many people miss flights because they "thought" it was at a different time.
AAA Top Road Trip Tips: With the majority of people traveling by car, prepare for congested roads at peak travel times.
  • Pack a safety kit! If you break down, you'll be happy to have a phone charger, snacks and water.
  • Pre-check your car! Make sure you have windshield washer fluid, fuel up, and make sure luggage is tightly secured.
  • Avoid distractions! Distraction contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to 5,000 deaths every year. Looking away from the road for just two seconds doubles your risk of a crash. Get to your destination safely.
  • Take your time! Rushing leads to stress and anxiety. Give yourself extra time on the roads. When you hop out of your car, deliberately check to make sure you have your keys. Lockouts are a No. 1 roadside problem for motorists.
However you choose to travel this season, be safe and prepared!
As upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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