If you’re like most Americans, you’ll be hitting the road at some point next week to visit family and friends for the holidays. But before you jump in the car, take a few minutes to and make sure you’re prepared for the long road ahead. Plan Your Route in Advance – Take half an hour to plan your route before you leave, especially if you’re driving half a day or more to get to your destination. Additionally, bring a paper map or printed out directions in case you lose GPS signal in your vehicle. As a bonus, you can map out a few alternative routes in case you run into traffic or other highway incidents that look like they may add a few hours to your trip. Pack an Emergency Roadside Kit – Every driver should have a roadside kit in their vehicle for any unexpected emergencies that might happen. A few staples to include are non-perishable snacks, a flashlight, a blanket, gloves, activities, batteries, a tool set, and a laminated list of emergency contact numbers. Perform a Vehicle Check – Before any road trip, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road. You should always check oil levels, antifreeze fluid, and the battery, as well as make sure all headlights, brake lights, and tail lights are working and none are burnt out. Also double check the belts and hoses, tire pressure and condition, and brake fluid. A quick stop at the auto shop can ensure that your vehicle is ready to go. Pack Phone Cables – Part of staying safe on the road is being able to stay in contact with family, friends, and emergency contacts if needed. Be sure to pack any cell phone chargers and adaptors you need, so that your devices don’t run out of battery while you’re driving. If you do forget them, most gas stations will have them available. Get a Good Nights Sleep – One of the most important things you can do before starting a long road trip is to make sure you get a solid nights sleep before you begin driving. Lack of sleep can make driving incredibly dangerous, and dozing off behind the wheel can put you and your family at serious risk. Don’t skimp on rest before you leave. Do you have any tips for preparing for a road trip? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!