Gas prices are down, which means holiday road travel will be up. In fact, about 100 million people got behind the wheel last holiday season, and even more will take to the roads this year, according to projections by the American Automobile Association. In a few weeks, many neighborhood families will load up their cars and join the holiday travel masses. While most of us know the basics, there are a few not-so-commonly known tips you should keep in mind before you buckle up.

Most seasoned drivers have had a tire blow out or a car break down, but it can be a lot more stressful when you’re on unfamiliar turf and have kids in the car. Any tips to help distressed motorists keep their cool?

All Texas drivers traveling within the state can get non-emergency roadside assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety by calling 1-800-525-5555, a number printed on the back of most Texas drivers’ licenses. You can call with car trouble, to report a reckless driver, or to report suspicious activity at a rest stop.

If you do have car troubles while driving down the highways, make sure you get completely off the roadway, out of the path of oncoming traffic, even if it means you have to drive on a flat tire for a short distance – the tire is replaceable.

If you don’t have a cell phone, or a roadside telephone isn’t available nearby, sit in your car and wait for help. If a motorist does stop to help, it’s better to remain in your car and just ask them to go get help. Likewise, if you see a stranded motorist while driving, notify the local police or the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Lengthy road trips mean lots of pit stops, especially if you’re traveling with small children. What are some things motorists should keep in mind when they pull off for gas or bathroom breaks?

If you stop in the night, always park in well lit areas. And always lock your car, even during the daytime, and even if you’re just running inside for a few minutes. And before unlocking your car to get back in, quickly check to make sure everything is safe inside, the way you left it.

Remember to keep your car doors locked and your windows rolled up far enough to keep anyone from reaching inside. When you do get back on the road, try to just travel well lit, busy streets.

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