Make Your Thanksgiving Highway Travel Safer
With Thanksgiving Day, the holidays are officially upon us. For many people, with the holidays comes travel. Whether by air or by car, it’s crowded out there. AAA projects that almost 51 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from their home for Thanksgiving. About 45.5 million of them will travel by car. This number is up from prior years. In fact, this is the most in over a decade, which means congested highways, lots of frustration and, unfortunately, more accidents.
The American Automobile Association and the American Trucking Association offer several tips for safely handling this increased traffic. First of all, buckle up. This will not prevent accidents, but it can save lives. Next, make sure your car is ready to go. The time to have it inspected, get an oil change, or rotate the tires is before heading out. Making sure that the car is ready to go may prevent unwanted delays or, worse yet, accidents caused by mechanical issues.
Once the car is ready to go, try to travel at off peak times, if at all possible. Similarly, plan the route in advance and try to travel via less congested roads. If you can avoid trouble spots, you may be able to avoid an accident as well.
Make sure you are prepared before hitting the road. Plan ahead to carry extra supplies in case you get stuck in traffic or run into other difficulties. Food and water, or blankets in colder climates, may be necessary. Chargers and extra batteries for electronics may make a delay more palatable. Not all problems are avoidable, but advance planning helps ease the aggravation.
Also, here are a few good ideas for once you are on the highway:
- Slow down – your odds of crashing nearly triple if you are driving faster than surrounding traffic.
- Do not drive under the influence of anything. Period.
- Be aware of the blind spots that large trucks have. If you are driving in the rear quarter of a big rig, chances are the driver cannot see you in his side mirrors.
- Always pass a large truck on the left because the blind spot is smaller on that side.
- Do not cut in front of a big truck. They are large and heavy and take more time and effort to slow down.
- Keep your eyes on the road and try to avoid distractions. Easier said than done when traveling with kids – we know – but do your best.
- Do not tailgate. Make sure to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you – just in case.
- Do not drive aggressively and control your temper with those who do. Just get out of their way.
All of this is common sense advice that will help you arrive at and return from your destination without incident. Keeping you and your family safe is the most important thing. So stay classy out there and have a great Thanksgiving!