Preparing to take a road trip this holiday season? Irv Gordon, whom the Guiness Book of World Records recognizes as the driver of the highest mileage noncommercial vehicle driven by a single owner, encourages people to be keenly alert on the roadways. "The holiday season means more people are driving to places to which they are not familiar and are in their cars for lengths of time to which they are not conditioned," says Gordon, a 70-year-old retired science teacher from Long Island, N.Y. "Planning and diligence are key to ensuring a safe holiday road trip." Gordon offers five tips for safe driving:
Check your bulbs and more. "A person may spend hours checking every bulb on the holiday lights he's displaying in his front yard, but how much time does he spend checking his brake light bulbs?" Gordon asks. "Check your lights and turn signals. In fact, have a certified mechanic inspect for you, along with tire inflation and treads, brakes, fluids, etc. It's good to have a full tune-up before you take your trip."
Prepare for a winter wonderland. "Winter can be as unpredictable as Uncle Steve's crude jokes at the dinner table, so prepare for the absolute worst conditions, even if the forecast tells you otherwise," Gordon says. "Keep a blanket, ice scraper, an emergency roadside kit, snacks and bottled water in the trunk."
Rotate your drivers. "Let's all agree that everyone's attention spans are much shorter than they once were, so don't put it to the test on the roadways," Gordon says. "Switch out drivers every couple of hours. If you're driving solo or there's no other person with a valid driver's license in the car, take breaks at rest stops every 90 minutes or so. Stretch the legs and snack on some leftovers."
Batteries not included. "Make a rule that nothing requiring a battery charge reside in the front of the car. Cell phones, MP3 players, DVD players. They are all potential distractions. Put them in the back or even the trunk," Gordon said. "In fact, make a rule that everyone put their gadgets away. Road trips are wonderful times to reconnect with family members and enjoy the beautiful views this nation offers."
Be mindful of others on the road. "While the holidays bring out the best of us in person, it can bring out the worst of us behind the wheels," Gordon said. "Keep your emotions in check and be mindful of others on the road. Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. Merge with caution. Keep in the right lane unless passing. Essentially, show goodwill toward all."
Gordon purchased his Volvo P1800 in June 1966 from a neighborhood Volvo dealership for $4,150. His 125-mile daily commute to and from work, his passion for driving and his meticulous care for his car enabled him to clock the 2.8-million miles. Gordon breaks his own world record every time he drives his celebrated car. His goal is to reach 3 million miles within the next two years.