Safety tips, stats and more: Your holiday travel roadmap

Before the winter blast arrives, it’s essential that drivers make sure they have a fully stocked emergency kit equipped for winter weather.

HOUSTON – According to AAA Texas, nine million Texans are expected to travel this holiday season, and 90% of these travelers will be driving. These numbers are up 2% compared to last year, and that’s pretty much up to par with what we saw in 2018, so one might say, yes, we are back to pre-pandemic traveling numbers.

We’ve got lower gas prices in place and we’re finally able to gather in large groups, so these are factors that could be contributing to the higher number of cars hitting the road.

When will it be the busiest to travel?

  • Thursday and Friday before Christmas Day are expected to be the busiest days out on the roads. One freeway will have a lot more congestion than usual and that is the Eastex Freeway. Between I-10 the East Freeway and SH-288 is where traffic is supposed to increase by about 40%, especially on Tuesday, Dec. 27 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is because it’s a combo of folks heading back from their Christmas road trips, heading back to work, or drivers embarking on their road trip ahead of New Year’s Eve.

Get your vehicle winter ready!

If you and your family will be joining the mass of holiday travelers getting on the road, you’ll want to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape ahead of the freeze.

Before the winter blast arrives, it’s essential that drivers make sure they have a fully stocked emergency kit equipped for winter weather. According to AAA Texas, the kit should include the following:

  • Traction aids (sand, salt, non-clumping cat litter or traction mats)
  • Shovel
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Jumper cables or jump pack
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench, duct tape, plastic zip ties)
  • Tarp, raincoat and gloves to help stay clean/dry if you must get out of the vehicle
  • Rags, paper towels or pre-moistened wipes
  • Warning devices (flares, reflective triangles or LED beacons)
  • First-aid kit (check expiration date)
  • Drinking water
  • Snacks/food for your passengers and any pets
  • Ice scraper
  • Snowbrush
  • Winter windshield washer solvent
  • Warm gloves, clothes, hats and blankets for all passengers in your car
  • Car charger for mobile phone

About the Author:

Traffic expert and What’s Driving Houston reporter, proud Latina, lover of animals, food and our beautiful planet.