For years, you’ve set the table, cooked a full-course meal, cleaned all the dishes and hosted the family for the holidays. But maybe this is the year that roles reverse—when the hosting responsibility is passed to your children (or their children) and you get to sit back, relax and enjoy the visit. Congratulations! However, leaving home isn’t without its own challenges.

Whether due to impaired vision, slower motor skills, medical conditions or medication side effects, driving issues concern many older drivers. Some have to take precautions when traveling long distances—especially during the busy holidays.

But we’re here to help. With these holiday travel tips and AAA resources for older drivers, you can arrive at your family’s celebrations safe and sound with gifts and that famous green bean casserole in tow:

1. Keep an eye on the weather

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According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 46 percent of crashes involving bad weather take place in the winter. Slippery driving conditions require quick reactions, a challenge for many older drivers because of pain, stiffness or diminished cognitive abilities. So if inclement weather arises, consider waiting until conditions are clear or even develop a new travel plan.

2. Check your medicines’ side effects

Did you know two-thirds of older drivers take five or more daily medications? Some medications can affect your ability to drive safely, but help is available. Roadwise Rx can help you understand how your medications—over-the-counter, prescription and even supplements—may affect your driving. The site also describes how they might interact with one another.

3. Allow for extra time and stops

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Driving when you’re not at your best can be dangerous. Schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy. Also be sure to give yourself extra time in case you need to drive at a slower, safer pace because of traffic, weather or other driving conditions.

4. Map your route during nonpeak hours

Before you head out, research your route so you can prepare for what’s along the way, such as congested roads and work zones. And instead of traveling during busy driving times, try leaving earlier or later in the day (or week) to avoid heavy traffic. But before you decide to drive at night, make sure your vision is up to the task. By age 60, a typical person’s eyes need three times as much light to see as clearly as they did at age 20, making it more difficult to see in the dark.

5. Evaluate your options

Depending on how far you have to travel, there’s a lot to consider: weather, traffic, routes, comfort. If the cons outweigh the pros, consider traveling by bus, train or plane; taking a ridesharing service; or hitching a ride with a family member.

6. Ensure your vehicle is prepared

If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive. You should also make sure your spare tire is properly inflated. AAA has a vast network of trusted Approved Auto Repair facilities that can perform a free multi-point inspection of your vehicle upon request.

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