By Dunwoody Police Officer William Furman

The holidays are a popular time for family travel. Make sure you and your family members stay safe on the busy roadways during this holiday season.

Here are some suggestions the University of Oklahoma Police have made for ways to stay safe during the holidays.

  • If traveling a long distance, download the latest information onto your GPS unit, if you have one. Get a weather forecast and prepare for things that can delay a trip, such as construction detours.
  • Most states provide up-to-date road and highway information by telephone or online.
  • Tell a family member of travel schedules and give him or her your route plan.
  • Keep a cell phone handy, but do not use it while driving. It is illegal in some states to use a cell phone while driving.
  • Keep a “breakdown kit” in case of a roadside breakdown. A kit should include a thermal blanket, a gallon of water, a flashlight and duct tape.
  • Consider carrying jumper cables, a tire gauge, work gloves hand tools, some rope and bungee cord, towels, a one-gallon gas can, change for a pay phone and a raincoat.
  • Carry a basic first aid kit in your vehicle.
  • Know how to access your spare tire and the jack. Vehicle owners can also consider towing insurance.
  • Routinely top off your fuel tank on long road trips. The frequency of gas stations can be spotty in many areas of the country.
  • The single most important item that safety experts recommend while driving during the often congested holiday season is focus. Concentrate on driving and avoid distractions. If tired, pull over and take a break. Scan for hazards in the roadway and check your mirrors to be aware of the traffic surrounding you.
  • If you experience a break down, pull over as far as possible on the shoulder of the road.
  • Keep your car in gear while stopped at traffic signals. If approached in a threatening manner, honk your horn.
  • Do not stop for any vehicle that may be trying to have you pull over unless that vehicle is clearly marked as law enforcement. If a problem such as this occurs, find the nearest populated, well-lit place and call law enforcement.

Officer William Furman is with the community outreach unit of the Dunwoody Police Department.