5 Simple Holiday Travel Safety Tips

by Sean Maloney

As you travel over the holidays, don’t forget that criminals don’t take a holiday. In fact, they view the holiday season as their busy time of year. With your mind on so many tasks, and the feeling of joy that comes with the holiday season, it’s easy to let your guard down and slip into “condition white” of mental preparedness.

Condition white is never appropriate when you are outside the safe confines of your home, and even then, you should only slip into this level of unawareness for brief periods. Unfortunately, when you are in a deep sleep, you’re in condition white, so it is imperative that you have good door and window locks and a good alarm system to buy you the time necessary to become alert.

As you go through your daily routines, or not so routines, during the holiday season, you should train yourselves to be in “condition yellow” most of the time. Condition yellow does not mean that you’re wound tighter than a garage door spring or you’re being paranoid. It means being consciously alert and aware of what is going on around you. Consequently, if there is a threatening encounter or problem that may need to be solved, you are ready to automatically transition into your self-defense mode.

Here are a few more holiday tips.

Avoid Angry Drivers.

AAA predicts that 55.4 million Americans will travel this Thanksgiving season, a record-breaking number. And let’s face it, some of those 55.4 million drivers lack good driving skills, so it’s up to you to drive defensively.

It’s also up to you to be the bigger person and not get drawn into whatever emotional drama other drivers are dealing with in their lives. If someone cuts you off or tailgates or otherwise acts like a jerk, just take a few deep breaths and let it go.

You won’t teach them a lesson or make them better people by acting like a jerk yourself. And you certainly don’t want to give them the excuse they need to create a road rage situation. Don’t take the bait. If someone is driving recklessly, slow down and find a way to put some distance between you and them. You don’t want to be nearby when they cause an accident.

Know the Gun Laws.

If you’re visiting friends or relatives and must travel to or through other states, review each state’s gun laws before crossing state lines. There are all sorts of ways you can get in trouble if you’re ignorant of local laws.

For example, it may be legal to transport your firearm through a state, but once you stop, you become a felon. What about reciprocity with your state’s license? Do you need to inform law enforcement that you’re carrying? What locations are off-limits for firearms? How about knives or other weapons? There are many ways the laws can vary.

One sensible way to avoid problems is to keep your gun concealed, even in open carry states. There’s no sense drawing attention to yourself, creating a situation with law enforcement, or testing your mastery of another state’s laws.

Don’t Argue with Cops.

All it takes is one traffic stop to ruin your holiday season. “Christmas Behind Bars” is not a song you want to be singing.

Concealed carry laws may seem senseless at times, but don’t argue with police on the side of the road during a traffic stop. Law enforcement doesn’t make the laws, after all, and this is an argument you will not win. Know and obey the laws in the state you’re in. Your family and loved ones are depending on you to protect them.

If you’re traveling through or to states like New York, New Jersey, or Massachusetts, it may not be worth it. These jurisdictions don’t care about your gun rights. Unless you are 100% sure you can carry, transport, stop and remain in the state with your firearm, I recommend you just avoid states like these.

Stay Calm.

Stress makes every interaction worse during the holiday season. Family demands, time constraints, and other pressures can lead to emotional flare ups, roadside arguments, and overall poor decision-making.

Remember, the best fight you will ever be in is the one that you avoid. Any situation you walk away from is a guaranteed win. There are no if’s about it, when you come in contact with someone who is being overly aggressive, it is far better to walk or drive away. If you carry a concealed firearm, it is incumbent upon you to do everything possible to safely avoid confrontation.

If you feel threatened, but not to the point you are in fear of imminent death or serious bodily injury, remove yourself from confrontation, call the police, and let them deal with the situation.

Again, deep breaths are your friend during the holidays. Breath. Relax. And stay calm.

From all of us at Second Call Defense, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and an all around great holiday season. Remember, if you’re a Second Call Defense member, we have your back every day of the year, even on Christmas Day!

Sean Maloney is a Criminal Defense Attorney practicing in all areas of firearm-related law, a multi-discipline firearms instructor, Leader and Legal Counsel with Buckeye Firearms Association, and co-founder of Second Call Defense.