In a year full of unknowns and uncertainties, what’s normally the busiest travel season of the year will certainly slow down. People will decide what makes most sense for them when it comes to family gatherings and trips. For those who choose to travel this holiday season, their family’s health and safety is a top priority, more so than ever.
Celebrating the holidays virtually to avoid large gatherings would be the safest option, but those who are planning to see family members should plan to quarantine ahead of time to decrease the risk of exposure. That said, many see traveling by car as a way to have more control over potential exposure to COVID-19. In fact, a recent survey conducted on behalf of Toyota shows more than half of Americans see their vehicle as a “safe haven” from the coronavirus.
Despite the pandemic, the survey also found:
- 42% of U.S. adults are likely to go on vacation or travel by year-end
- 56% said they were less likely to venture outside their home state
- 72% said they would take a vehicle versus flying
“Safety is one of our top priorities, but it reaches well beyond making our Toyota vehicles among the safest on the road,” says Mike Goss, general manager, social innovation. “Our mission extends to making the roads safer for everyone who travels by car. Starting with the safety of infants and children, to teens behind the wheel, and graduating up to safe driving for seniors — it is an all-encompassing safety commitment.”
Regarding infants, a startling 75% of child safety seats are not used correctly. Beyond installing the seat in the car, do you know which way your child should face? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children remain in rear-facing seats until age 2, or until they exceed the height and weight limit for the seat. And don’t forget to remove your child’s winter coat before you buckle them into their car seat. Puffy coats and excess clothing can prevent straps from tightening enough to properly restrain your child if an accident occurs.
Buckle Up for Life, a national child passenger safety program created by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and Toyota, teaches parents how to help keep their children safe. Here are the top safety tips provided by Buckle Up for Life and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for traveling during the pandemic:
1. Conduct vehicle safety checks. Before departing, have a service shop check your vehicle’s tire pressure, battery, fuel filter, radiator coolant and brake fluid. Also top off your windshield-washer fluid.
2. Plan your route. When considering your destination, the CDC suggests asking yourself the following questions:
- Is COVID-19 spreading in the community or the area you are visiting? If so, you may have a higher chance of becoming infected or infecting others.
- Will you be able to maintain a distance of 6 feet between yourself and others during travel and at your destination?
- Does the destination require visitors to quarantine themselves