24692956_MYou hear it every year: the holidays are the busiest travel time of the year. And, each year, millions of Americans skip the airports and opt instead for the highways. If you’re one of these fearless road warriors, keep these tips in mind to help you get safely to your destination:

Minimize distractions. Children are definitely a distraction. Okay, so you can’t just kick the kids out of the car, but you can take some steps to minimize the distractions they cause. Keep snacks handy that they can open and eat by themselves. Have age-appropriate activities. Before you go, create a kid’s travel kit or you can play games as a family. Remember to plan stops. Get out of the car every hour or two to stretch and walk around. This will be good for you and them.

Put down the phone. Kids aren’t the only distractions. Cellphones and other handheld devices are even worse. Let friends and family know that you will be driving and won’t be responding to text messages. Have another person in the car be responsible for your phone. They can answer calls and texts for you. Or you can use an app that will send automated responses. If you absolutely must answer the phone, make sure you have a hands-free option.

Get directions before you leave home. If you are going to Grandma’s house and have been there many times, great. But if you are going somewhere you haven’t been before (or if it’s been a while), go over the directions before you head out.

Get your car ready. Make sure your car is in traveling condition. Keeping up with routine maintenance can help you avoid any major problems that might keep you from making the trip. Remember to check the tires. And clean your windshield!

Pack an emergency kit. Besides snacks, make sure you have plenty of water. Depending on where you are going, you may need jackets and blankets. You should always have a charged flashlight in your car.

Now are you ready to go? Safe travels and happy holidays!