Tips for Travelling Home Safely on Holiday Breaks

Parents Helping Teenage Son Pack For College

After several months of being away at university, the prospect of returning home for the holidays is exciting. Although you may want to rush home as soon as your last class is over, it’s important to remember that driving can be particularly dangerous due to poor weather conditions and heavy traffic. To avoid accidents, bear the following safety advice in mind.

1. Check Your Car

Ensure your car will be able to make the journey by running some basic tests. In particular, check your battery, cooling system, tire pressure, wiper blades, and wiper fluid. Keep the gas tank at more than half full to prevent freezing. If you haven’t done so already, switch to winter tires or make sure your all-season tires still have a deep enough tread.

2. Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit

You may have prepared an emergency supply kit for your car before you left for university in the fall. Now is a great time to check it to see if anything needs replacing. At a minimum, the kit should contain a spare tire, jumper cables, some basic tools, a flashlight, a first aid kit, drinking water, and snacks.

3. Sleep Enough the Night Before

It’s a good idea to start your journey early to avoid some of the traffic. However, it’s even more important that you’re well-rested before you begin the long drive. If you end up sleeping for fewer hours than you hoped you would and wake up feeling tired, it’s worth sleeping more to ensure you’re fully alert while driving.

4. Drive Sober

Another possibility is that you may still be under the influence of alcohol when you wake up after a night of drinking. This is a risk if you had a final party at college before everyone went home for the holidays. Again, sleep it off, making sure enough hours have passed since your last drink before you get behind the wheel.

5. Wear a Seat Belt at All Times

There’s no excuse for not wearing a seat belt, even if you’ll just be in the car for a few minutes. After all, it takes mere seconds to buckle up. Accidents can happen at any time — and you’re much more likely to be seriously injured if you lack a seat belt.

6. Never Look at Your Phone

There’s a high chance you’ll be receiving many notifications while driving — perhaps from friends wishing you happy holidays or family asking where you are on your drive. Don’t allow yourself to even glance at the screen to see what the message is about, let alone send a response. Being distracted for even a short time can easily lead to an accident, and cell phones are one of the biggest causes of distractions.

You may feel quite homesick when you return to university after spending the holidays with your family — especially if you’re moving back into cramped, uncomfortable accommodation. However, you’ll definitely look forward to returning to university if you have great off-campus student housing. Waterloo students can choose between Preston House and Bridgeport House, both of which have a pool table and ping pong table, ensuite private washrooms, and dedicated study spaces. Secure your spot for after the holidays while there are still units available.