The holidays are upon us —  bringingnot only yuletide joy, but also icy weather and congestedhighways.

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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, "during the six-dayThanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (toand from a destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54%; andduring the Christmas/New Year's holiday period the number rises by23%, compared to the average number for the remainder of theyear."

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This translates into more accidents — and moreestimates.

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While other industries slow down, for many appraisers andadjusters, the fourth quarter is the busiest season of the yearbecause of time off and the holidays.

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To make it through the increased volume of work successfully,here is a holiday survival guide with some tips to share withcoworkers, customers, friends and family: 

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Keep the holiday spirit  

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It's no surprise that accidents are typically high-stress eventsfor drivers. Not to mention, families that are strapped for cashdon't need the extra expense of a car repair. No one likes aGrinch. Your clients probably aren't happy they're in thissituation, but you can be a pleasant part of it. Use the season asan opportunity to show your level head and calm demeanor in thestress of an accident. It's the perfect time to be a pillar ofsound reasoning in a taxing situation.

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Ask for help when you need it

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There's no reason to suffer through the busy season alone. Afterall, you never see just onecaroler —  it's a group effort! Althoughit can often feel like there's too much work and too little time tocomplete it, there are companies that can supplement your staffwith independent appraisers. When you feel the pressure, takeadvantage of help that is readily available.

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Anticipate hazardous weather

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When you're traveling to complete an estimate or visit clients,chances are road conditions will be less than favorable this timeof year. Always check weather reports before traveling. Dependingon your climate, make sure your vehicle has snow tires or chains.Ensure your windshield wiper fluid tank is full and replace oldwipers. Pack a kit with blankets, water, a little food, jumpercables and an ice scraper in case of emergencies. It's alwaysbetter to be prepared. If all else fails, have a sleigh andreindeer on call.

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Remember to have fun

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Although your work volume may spike, the holidays are a time tohave fun. Arrange to give clients gifts such as cookies, icescrapers or even travel mugs and deliver them in person. Bring abox of candy canes along when completing estimates and hand themout to mechanics at auto repair shops. It's always nice to give alittle extra during this season.

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The holidays don't have to be a dreaded season for those in theinsurance industry. Remain strong through the stress, and if itgets to be too much, remember that you have options. Stay safe onthe roads and Happy Holidays!

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Ken Loose is the chief operations officer at Fort Worth,Texas-based Property DamageAppraisers. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Related: Helpwanted: 5 things to look for in an independentappraiser

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